As legions of new freshman launch their college careers at USC, California State University campuses and other schools this week, they are beginning their higher education during a time of unprecedented access to knowledge.

It's at their fingertips — on their laptops, iPads and iPhones. The answers are easier to find than ever. And here's one of them:

Don't cram. It's not worth it:

A new UCLA study published in the latest issue of Child Development suggests that if you don't know the coursework by the day before a big test, it's not worth pulling an all-nighter.

Researchers looked at 535 Latino, Asian American and white kids in 10th and 12th grades at L.A. area schools.

Credit: USC / Facebook

Credit: USC / Facebook

Led by UCLA professor of psychiatry Andrew J. Fuligni, the academics concluded that the best kind of test prep involves “a consistent study schedule.”

UCLA graduate student Cari Gillen-O'Neel, who helped with the study, said cramming had the opposite effect of what was desired:

… Cramming tended to be followed by days with more academic problems.

The main problem? Sleep deprivation: Losing zzzs wasn't worth and can actually decrease test-day performance, Fuligni said:

No one is suggesting that students shouldn't study. But an adequate amount of sleep is also critical for academic success. These results are consistent with emerging research suggesting that sleep deprivation impedes leaning.

So try to stay on your nightly homework and save the coffee for your Saturday mornings.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly