When people talk about drugs, rarely anyone would think of stimulant drugs which do not cause a psychophysical "relaxation", but do quite the opposite - strain your brain and force you to invest much more effort in doing your tasks.
These stimulants improve concentration and are becoming more popular among students, so much that there is a sort of pressure on colleges to allow the use of the stimulants. These prescription drugs are already present in student circles, anyway.
Even before Modafinil and the rest of smart drugs appeared, there were many students who took plant-based products that can be bought in pharmacies. Even high school students would take it before their graduation exam. One pill for stress, one for tranquility, another for sleep, two or three for concentration. Not to mention all the other stimulants: Liters and liters of coffee, energy drinks, Marlboro lights every day, etc.
The right time for taking smart drugs
If doctors diagnosed you with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and told you to take the nootropic drug Adderall, or if you have a sleep disorder, and they prescribed you Modafinil or Armodafinil, you might experience some strange phenomena.
For example, if you happen to take the drug right before watching some videos about famous football players, you will probably end up watching it for five straight hours, without a pause. You will be drawn to your chair and computer screen, not able to move away from it.
True, thinking processes will improve and you will be able to remember things more easily, stay focused for a longer period, and learn more quickly. However, if you took the pill in order to do better on your exam, then you will probably forget about it and watch all the videos you can the whole way through. Certainly, you will know every possible biography detail of all famous football players, and you will probably learn a lot about soccer even if you are not a fan or talented for sports, yet, it might happen you will not be prepared for the exam. Moreover, you will ask others to join you in your football session and talk about it at length.
The underestimated Modafinil side-effect: Not enjoying things you liked
Modafinil is obtained only through prescription and is intended for patients suffering from narcolepsy. The drug is considered to be a "central nervous system stimulant" that prevents "extreme drowsiness during daylight hours". Although it does temporarily improve all mental abilities, a common fallacy is that Modafinil improves intelligence. The truth of the matter is that it does not change your IQ, but only gives you the strength and the will to concentrate on the subject. Some scientists believe it does not even improve any of the mental abilities except raising the level of motivation for learning or working.
You should know that when you take Modafinil before your exam preparation, you will not want to do things you like and did before, like hanging out with your close friends. You won't find pleasure in doing the things you enjoyed; instead, you will hang in a library all day and prepare for the exam, and after the effects of the drug subside, you will feel extremely exhausted and lacking the ability to focus on anything.
Why is Modafinil popular among women?
Modafinil and similar drugs, such as Armodafinil, which has greater potency, are especially popular among female population of students, because they get three in one: Become smarter, lose weight, and never feel hungry. The expression "become smarter", however, does not imply a real IQ improvement, as previously said, while the losing weight effect really is the consequence of taking Modafinil and other smart drugs. They are commonly used for weight-loss only, despite the fact they are not designed for that purpose.
The issue of ethics on exams and at work
While some students spend money on tutors or more expensive scripts, others are satisfied with a box of Modafinil and investing in their studies. However, many people raised the question of ethics and fairness when using smart drugs during exam preparations. And smart drugs being too expensive for some of them, there will be a great difference in exam scores between richer and poorer students.
The same ethical issue came up even outside the student circles. What about people who take the pills at work, and thus are able to finish all tasks faster than others who do not take stimulant drugs?
On the other hand, if somebody offers you a small white pill that will enable you to know all the answers in the exam, would you decline the offer knowing that you will probably fail the exam, lose a scholarship, and disappoint not only your parents, but yourself? Or at your workplace, would you rather let other people do better than you, or you would like to show your boss how good employee you are? Others, holding the opposite view, would certainly ask what impact it will have on your health and if it is really worth the effort.
I guess, every generation has its own drugs they enjoy, and ours is drawn to a drug that leads you to a better degree, a better job, and of course, a better salary. Isn't that strange?