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Night Vs Day: Which is More Effective for Studying?

by Nur Zafirah Mohd Faudzi

Studying is part of your life if you are a student. Even if you aren’t now, you must’ve been one before. It is undeniable that patience and preparation are essential to set the best time for studying. Some people have better mornings for studying and others have a better time learning in the evening or at night. It’s up to you!

According to the Science of “good timing,” also known as chronobiology, peak performance is hardwired into our DNA. Our biological clock, which has been inside our brain since we were young, allows us to determine when our study timetable is adequate. Although new studies indicate that time cannot be everything, you do need to build and perform consistently at best.

Science has shown that learning performs best when the brain is in a learning mood, generally from 10 am to 2 pm and once more from 4 pm to 10 pm. The time around 4 am and seven is when it is less adequate time for learning.

Before anything else, let us look at the benefits of studying in the day and at night in the figure below. 

Figure 1. Benefits of Studying at Night and Day

As we can see, each time has its benefits for learning. Now, what we are going to figure out is which time is more effective for studying?

To figure this out, we will compare students from Pandai to decide if there is a difference in performance between night and day study. This result is based on the average score from four core topics which are Mathematics, Science, English and Bahasa Melayu. The day time is between 8 am to 7 pm and night time starts from 7 pm until 8 am the next day. Let us see first which time do most of our students preferred to study?

Figure 2. Percentage of Students Who Studied at Night and Day

The pie chart shows the percentage of Pandai students who studied at night and day. The time of study is defined by the time the students submitted the exams. 

From the pie chart, it is clear that most students, rather than the day, prefer studying at night. Sixty-three percent of the students studied at night out of 500. The remaining 37% studied during the day. This result indicates that most of the students go to school during the day, so they can only study during the night. Some of them only have a chance to study during the day on weekends or school days off.

Now, let’s move on to the primary investigation to look at the difference in the average score of the students who studied at night and during the day.

Figure 3. Average Score of Each Subject (Year 6)

The bar chart above illustrates the results of 400 students of year 6 in four subjects, 200 who studied at night and 200 who studied during the day.

There is a slight difference in the average score of students studying overnight and during the day in Mathematics subject from the graph. With a distinction of 2.43 percentage points, students who studied during the day overscored those studied at night. Besides that, the students studying during the day in Science are a slightly higher average score than the students who studied overnight which is by 0.43 percent. However, for English subject, the students who studied during the day scored slightly lower than the students who studied at night which is less by 1.32 percentage points. Finally, the average score for Bahasa Melayu subjects in both groups varies by 1.68 percent and is favored by students studying overnight. 

In summary, we can see only a small variation in all subjects in the average score of students in both groups. The overall score was similarly balanced.

Now that we’ve seen Year 6 students’ results, we will now take a look at Form 3 students’ results in the same subjects.

Figure 4. Average Score of Each Subject (Form 3)

The graph shows the average score of 400 form 3 students who studied at night and during the day by subject.

As we can see, students who studied at night achieved an average score of 60.21% in Mathematics with a slight 0.4 percentage points greater than the students studying in the day. The difference in Science is even slimmer which shows a difference of 0.19 percent with favorable over students studying overnight. However, it shows a difference of 0.84 percent favored by students studying during the day for English subject. Lastly, the students who studied during the day scored slightly better in Bahasa Melayu subject. They achieved an average score of 56.88%, which is 1.17 percentage points higher than the students studying overnight.

Overall, students of both groups performed similarly in all subjects. Results for both students who studied at night and during the day were roughly comparable.

In summary, there is no time to study a ‘good’ day. When we have the most energy, we all have our most efficient time of day. Some people wake up with a lot of energy in the morning. Others are owls of the night and in the evening, they have more energy.

Just like every student has a particular learning style, different students can learn better at various times of the day. Some of these students will find it easier to concentrate on the school’s work in the morning, while others may find it easier to study at night. It’s essential to plan your studies to make you more productive and active. Finding the best time of the day will save you time, help you improve your learning and make your study time much enjoyable.

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