We tried Modafinil…and it’s pretty good

It’s the study drug which could save your degree. We tried Modafinil and this is what it’s like.

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Forget Red Bull, Ritalin and Adderall, the Big Names in Chemistry are all talking about Modafinil: the non-addictive ‘wakefulness’ drug even the army are using. 

We recently found that 1 in 5 students have used modafinil – here’s some info for the 4 in 5 who haven’t.

This isn’t like drinking a lot of caffeine, modafinil (the street name “daffy” has not caught on) temporarily improves your memory and massively increases your efficiency. Some scientists are hailing it as a potential wonder drug, and there is already talk of Olympic-style drug tests for students.



Slightly frighteningly, scientists say they don’t know exactly how it works, and no one knows what the long-term side effects are, so I don’t recommend dicking about with it, although I did regularly for a few months.

What it does

Modafinil is not a wonder drug – it doesn’t make you reach a higher limit of achievement than people who haven’t taken it. But it can massive improve your efficiency, so it’s a big boost to lazy people to force themselves to work. I don’t think anyone ever became cleverer because of modafinil, but it has allowed people to live up to their ability.



It gives you a kind of tunnel vision. You can concentrate for hours on reading a book, taking meticulous notes, not looking up once. You don’t eat, you don’t really talk to people. In fact the only thing you will leave your work to do is go to the loo, which modafinil makes you do almost hourly.

Normal procedure is this: Set your alarm clock for some ungodly hour, take two 100mg tablets and then go back to sleep. One hour later you wake with an urgent need to empty your bowels and what the drug’s manufacturers call “a sense of wakefulness.”

After that, hit the books. You might find your mood goes a little bit up and down, but generally you will feel akin to some kind of super-human, ploughing through work like a fully-functioning Stephen Hawking. After about 14 hours it wears off and you become useless again, but you should be able to sleep fine.


• You can concentrate for hours and get lots of work done, and remember it all afterwards.
• It helps you wake up early.
• Quite subtle: this isn’t an overwhelming experience.




• Makes you unsociable and even, as your mum might say, “a bit snappy” when people talk to you.
• You can become too focused and do things like miss your bus stop because you’re engrossed in a game of Angry Birds. Be careful when crossing the road too.
• Your mood tends to swing a little bit up and down while you’re on it.
• Lots of trips to the loo.

Warning: Modafinil decreases the effectiveness of the pill and other contraception, so take extra precautions.

Want to know more? Comment below and we’ll answer your questions.