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How to Pull an All-Nighter

Next time you have a test on leitmotifs in Gravity's Rainbow, you'll thank us.


  • Step 1: Create flash cards Create flash cards by writing a question on one side and the answer on the other.
  • Step 2: Chew gum Chew gum. Studies show it activates chemicals in the brain that improve short and long term memory.
  • Step 3: Divide items to be memorized Divide items to be memorized into chunks no larger than seven. That's the maximum amount of information the human memory can absorb at one time.
  • TIP: Stand for part of your study time. Studies show this helps students remember 10% more material by increasing blood flow to the brain. Plus, you won't pass out on the couch.
  • Step 4: Sniff lavender or peppermint Sniff some lavender or peppermint, whether they're in candle, oils, or candy form. Studies have found that these fragrances help people stay awake and alert.
  • Step 5: Don't drink too much coffee Pace yourself with the coffeepot. Too much joe will make you jittery.
  • Step 6: Take breaks Take frequent breaks. Our brains are more likely to retain the first and last points of a study session, so lots of short study spurts are better than one long one.
  • Step 7: Chug an energy drink Chug an energy drink before the big test (or your first class). A study of graduate students found that those who drank one were more mentally sharp an hour later than those who didn't.
  • Step 8: If you're drifting in class If you find yourself drifting in a class, get up and go drink some water, or chew some more gum. You've done the hard part, so don't give up now.
  • FACT: One study showed that college students need two to three hours more sleep than they typically get.

You Will Need

  • Index cards
  • Gum
  • Lavender or peppermint aromatherapy
  • Coffee
  • And a can of energy drink

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