The Night Before An Exam: Do’s & Don’ts

When it comes time to study for an exam, most college students are huge procrastinators and will try to cram the night before the exam. But that isn’t what you should be doing, which we all know that even though we keep trying to cram everything. The night before an exam is the perfect time to calm down your nerves, get a ton of rest, and the time to do things that work for you.

Learn how the rules of preparing the night before an exam.


Here are some things that you can do the night before an exam:

Go to bed early to get enough sleep

It may seem worth it to just stay up and study as much of the material that you can, but in the long run, you won’t actually remember much of what you learned. When you sleep, your body naturally moves the information from the day into short-term memory and long-term memory. So, when you stay up all night, your body doesn’t get the chance to store the information for later so you’re less likely to remember for the test.

Eat a good breakfast in the morning full of proteins

Your brain needs proteins and other healthy material to be able to function on a day-to-day basis so don’t skip out on a meal before your test. Your brain needs the energy to work hard.

Alternate different studying spots

Studying in different locations and with different people can immensely improve your studying ability. You’re less likely to become bored or distracted when you study in different places. I typically like to study in my apartment, at the library, and at a friend’s apartment who’s in the same class as me.

Minimize distractions

Millennials tend to always have their phone in their hands or have earbuds permanently attached to their ears. But when you’re studying, its best to put those distractions away and try to only focus on your coursework. The reason why this will increase the amount of material that you will remember is that you’ll be in the same environment during the test as when you studied the material. During an exam, you’re not able to listen to music or play on your phone so studying in a quiet location is the best possible option.

Quiz yourself

The best way to see if you know the material is to quiz yourself using tools, like Quizlet, to see where you need to focus on more. Create some questions that could be great questions that could be used on the test to get the best usage out of this studying tip.

Study in 20-30 increments, then take a 5-minute break

Your brain literally can’t stay focus for much longer than 20-30 minutes on any task, especially when it comes to learning and studying. Plus you’ll be thankful that you don’t have to study 24 hours to make an A on a test. It’s not about the time you spend studying, it’s the quality of the time that you spend studying.

Taking mini breaks during your studying are a great way to increase your productivity! Click To Tweet

Pack up everything that you will need during the test

It’s the worst feeling knowing that you left something at home that you needed for your test, such as a calculator or a cheat sheet that your teacher said you could have for the exam. So it’s best to go ahead and pack your backpack the night before with everything that you could possibly need for the exam.


Here are some things that you should NOT do the night before an exam:

Don’t pull an all-nighter

You have to get some sleep before the exam or I promise you won’t remember as much as you think you do. At night, your brain moves information to short-term to long-term memory, but if you don’t sleep, then your body can’t do that.

Don’t drink a ton of coffee the night before

Caffeine creates a chemical imbalance in your body that allows your body to stay up for a long period of time and can make you feel jittery or hyped up. Stop drinking coffee around midday so your body can excrete the caffeine and allow you to get some rest that night.

Cram for the upcoming test

Cramming is no good when it comes to actually retaining the information or being able to remember it longer than an hour after reading the text. Try to plan ahead so that you can study with no pressure and less of a time restraint.

Cramming is never a good idea, so plan ahead and make time early on to study. Click To Tweet

Change up your diet

Now is not the time to decide that you want to go vegan or to try a new restaurant because you never know what might upset your stomach or make you feel sick the next day. Trust me, it’s not fun having to take a test sick from either the flu or just a bug virus.

Do any intense workouts right before bed

When you work out, your body goes into overdrive mode and is ready to take on the world. But that’s not the feeling that you want right before bed. Working out before bed can actually make you stay awake and not allow you to get quality sleep the night before the exam. If you do a workout the night before, do your workout early in the morning or in the afternoon, at least 4 hours before bed, to allow yourself time to relax enough to go to bed.


The night before an exam is just a critical step of the process of studying because it can literally make or break your score on the test. Most people don’t realize it, but anything that affects your mind or body can drastically decrease or increase your grade on the exam the following day. I try to stay away from anything that could make me sad, mad, or that could make any changes to my lifestyle.


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  • TheBlondeLifestyle

    Great tips! I have a bunch of tests coming up this week and will certainly be implementing some of these!

    • Makaela Premont

      Awesome! I’m glad that these were able to help you out.

  • I used to wait until the last minute to start studying for my exams. I quickly learned the hard way that wasn’t gonna take me anywhere! The distractions while studying are real! sometimes i have to keep my phone out of sight to really concentrate.

    • Makaela Premont

      Yes, I can totally understand that! Sometimes I like to study in the library in a place that has no service so that I won’t be tempted to be on my phone while I’m supposed to be studying.