Study Buddy!

What is a Study Buddy?

It’s finals week, you had an exam at 6 pm and now you find yourself at midnight with two exams the very next day. You hadn’t studied for them at all, what is your best option? Nowadays if you were to ask a typical undergraduate study in the United States, you may commonly find that a “study buddy” is your best option. A “study buddy”  is, “adderall, or prescription ADHD medication that can induce concentration for extended periods of time. Often taken without prescription by students who want to cram” (Urban Dictionary). This type of ADHD medication is one that will keep you alert and awake and will make you want to get things done, including studying (Gladu,

According to a survey conducted from 2003 taken around individual campuses, as many as 20% of collegiate have used these prescription drugs in order to study; this statistic is one that has tripled between 1992 and 2003, and has even increased today (The Adderall Advantage). With such an increase in the students who use them for studying, I continue to wonder, do these prescription drugs work? Do they make a difference?

Do they work?

While many students will swear by the fact that the prescription drugs do work, maybe the students only think that they do. According to an article by when adderall is taken after about 20-30 minutes you begin to get that “feel good” energy. The adderall causes different cells to release a chemical that will mimic dopamine and make you happy. Maybe this illusion of happiness is why students seem to think it works. Time Magazine decided to look into it.

A study was done at the University of Pennsylvania with 47, non-diagnosed (with ADHD), test subjects. The group was randomized and then without knowing, given either a placebo pill or an ADHD prescription drug. They were then tested and their results were analyzed. The performance on the test showed no significant difference in scores between the group who had taken adderall and the group who had taken a placebo. However, one thing the study did find was that the subjects that took the adderall reported that they felt more confident in their scores than the placebo group (

This test was one that couple have possibly been constructed different. Many variable such as the student’s previous intelligence, time allowed for the drug to activate, number of test subjects, and even if the subjects had other health concerns other than ADHD could have all skewed the test. With this many possible confounding variables, the experiment may not be the most reliable but did have some interesting findings.


Though the test scores of the experiment showed no substantial difference, the fact that students who took the ADHD medication felt that they had done better on the test could give some answers. The illusion of doing well could heighten morale, and allow for better studying and test taking due to the confidence boost. Overall, this new craze of “study buddies” is one that is becoming more and more popular in the colleges and universities of the United States. Though most studies show no substantial difference, students who currently take them are not likely to stop. With all this being said, I do not recommend taking ANY prescription pills that you are not supposed to for it can be very dangerous.


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7 thoughts on “Study Buddy!

  1. Bailee Cooper

    I’ve always believed people who take adderall that isn’t prescribed to them are merely experiencing the placebo effect. They know that adderall helps people focus, and so when they take it, they believe it is making them focused. In reality, they already had the ability to be focused, unlike those with ADHD, but they just weren’t trying. Like you said in the study, students who took adderall thought they did better, but they really didn’t.

  2. Stephanie Ann Loesch

    This article is very relevant as many college students consider to resort to using these ‘study buddies.’ I have often questioned what impact these pills can have on a person’s success in school. After researching online, I could not find any research which proves that adderall increases a person’s test scores. I must question whether or not the file drawer problem is occurring as proving the drug allows people to do better on tests would increase the demand for the drug very much. Researchers would probably not want to suggest people find a way to use this drug despite not having a prescription for it (as it is made to help those with ADHD). An article online interviewed some college students who took the drug in order to complete more work and do better in school as a result. A kid by the name of Brad found that after taking the drug, his GPA rose from a 1.8 to a 3.0. Chance and confounding variables could arise but the claims he makes are interesting to note (he is one of many to give positive feedback after taking the drug to enhance school performance).

  3. Emanuel Gabriel Mitchell

    I found the topic of choice to be very compelling. I agree with the closing statement about how people should not take any drugs that are not prescribed to them nor should they misuse them. After some research I found a few side <a href=""<effects/negatives about taking Adderall.
    -One may be focused, but not necessarily on what they need to focus on
    -Loss of appetite
    I also think that people should find alternative ways to focus on their work, rather than cheating and putting themselves in harms way. Here’s a link to some natural ways of improving one’s focus.

  4. Eric Anthony Campbell

    I have ADHD and I actually find that late at night I work better without taking my medication. I take a low dose for classes and am suggested to take another higher dose for late night work, but I often times do not. I feel more energized and less jittery which allows me to sit down and focus over a longer period of time. While the medicine helps for a little, it curbs my appetite and also I crash when it wears off. I wouldn’t suggest it for studying, instead I would suggest studying with a friend or group, which will allow you to focus and be put back on track when you veer off in another situation. I wouldn’t recommend the pills for studying but that is just my opinion. Another direction this could go is taking the pills for class vs for studying or work.

  5. Brooke Lytle

    This is an extremely interesting topic to choose for a blog. I know people to this day that use adderall and swear that it helps. It is very surprising that the only thing that adderall does is give people a confidence boost since it is a true drug. I decided to look a little more into it, and found that the results of this article are most likely true: but now I know why! Most people get a sense of clarity after they take it, and a confidence boost as well. But the sense of euphoria that they receive makes them think that the work they are doing is better than it actually is, which results in the same work as those who don’t take it. So adderall does not help you do better on something- but it can make you focus.

  6. Victoria Atkinson Scott

    The difficult concept I have with this prescription drug specifically is the way people are tested and how readily available, prescribed, and simple it is to get ahold of. If a college student was to lie or over exaggerate their symptoms to their doctor just to get adderall, how does the doctor be able to test for concrete evidence and symptoms? A person could be faking it. My personal experience with this, was in the eighth grade. I was taken to a specialist and tested for ADD or ADHD. I was given a series of multiple memory tests, cognitive tests, spelling and basic timed brain exercises. I tried very hard and passed with flying colors. However, I think to myself sometimes, what if I had just tried to fail or purposefully didn’t do well on those exam and tests. Would I now be taking adderall consistently? There are many outside factors to think about. I think the negative effects and bad side effects to your body is one reason why people should not take it, in this website it shows everything that can happen to your body when you take this pill.

  7. cvp5306

    Great topic! I think that this is a topic that could use a lot of research seeing as it is a sort of ‘new’ craze. I have never been a study buddy kind of person. Studying with other people distracts me from my work. I have also never taken any medication to help me focus. With that being said I can not really say that one way or the other is correct but I really like your research. It would be interesting to see how many people who use the study buddy system feel like they can cheat or not do as much work. That would be a different way to take this blog… just a thought.

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