We all know that procrastination is bad. Time is of the essence and success demands consistency. Thorough and effective exam preparation can take months. Despite this, we sometimes find ourselves waking up one day with the realization that time has run out.
This realization can trigger anxiety, exam stress, and even hopelessness. But all is not lost. You can still manage to prepare for your final exams, using effective last-minute study tips. While nothing beats good old-fashioned consistent exam preparation, these quick study techniques can be your saving grace when you are on the brink of time.
So if you are in a pinch to learn enough to pass your final exams, do not waste a minute more. Check out these last-minute study techniques and get started right away!
Track Down the Syllabus
If you haven’t seen the syllabus yet, get ahold of it now. This will give you a clear idea of what you need to study. Sit down and go through the syllabus carefully, and try to determine what you know and what you are clueless about. Hopefully, you have some degree of preparation, but if you are completely blank, don’t panic. Note down the chapters you need to study and grab the educational board-approved textbook.
Head to a Quiet Place
Find a quiet and comfortable study environment. A local library is usually a great option. Here you will find like-minded people who are also focused on their work, so this can motivate you. However, if you prefer to study at home, then find a quiet, distraction-free room to study. Avoid studying on your bed as this will only make you lazy and reduce productivity. Instead, try to study on the dining table, or on your study desk.
Block Out Distractions
We know how tempting it is to check up on social media or call up a friend. But remember that distractions are what made you procrastinate in the first place. Turn off your mobile phone, avoid the television, and ask your family not to disturb you while you study. Have a snack before you begin the exam preparation session so that you do not feel hungry while studying. If you must, ask your parents or a sibling to check up on you, to make sure that you are seriously studying.
Use Relevant Study Materials
If you are studying last-minute, chances are you won’t have time to read the entire textbook cover to cover. Instead, skim through the syllabus-relevant chapters, and make use of the end-of-chapter summaries. If you wrote notes during class, then use those to study. Otherwise, find reliable book notes for your educational board online. In addition to notes, make sure to study as many past papers as possible. Using solved past papers can give you a good idea of how to attempt the questions on the final exams.
This may sound crazy, but you should not cram, even during the last-minute study. Spending the night cramming will make you feel tired, cranky, and sluggish. Not only that but trying to commit the entire textbook to memory in one night will lead to information overload. Instead, a study in hour-long sessions with complete concentration then gives yourself a five-minute break. This will help you retain the information much better, and it will make your exam preparation seem less painful.
Read Out Loud
Do not waste your time reading the textbook passively. Most of us do not have photogenic memory, so retaining all that information will be difficult. Instead, try to read out loud. Better yet, write notes of the chapter and then teach it to someone else. Speaking out loud will facilitate better memory retention due to the three stimuli involved in the process: speaking, listening, and reading. Another last-minute study tip is to read the chapter, write down the main points, and then summarize the topic out loud.
Experiment With Study Techniques
In addition to reading out loud, try to incorporate other effective study techniques into your last-minute exam preparation. Visual study aids such as flowcharts, mind maps, and flashcards facilitate better information retention. This is because the brain is better able to recall visuals that reinforce the information it reads. It is also quicker than writing full-on essays during revision. Moreover, try watching a video tutorial or listening to a short podcast regarding chapters from the syllabus. Be careful, however, as you do not want to spend one-hour watching a video related to one chapter during a last-minute study session.
Do Not Forsake Sleep
No matter how short on time you are, do not sacrifice your sleep. You may think that cramming all night before the exam will tide you over, but it will only leave you feeling tired and irritated. The chances of jumbling up information are also higher this way. So study as much as you can the day before the exam, and then sleep at your regular time. This will lead to memory consolidation, which is more helpful for the final exams. Moreover, you will be active and alert the next morning, which is necessary when attempting the exam.
Keep in mind that there is no real shortcut to effective learning, so it is never advisable to leave your exam preparation until the last minute. The best advice is to develop a strong study strategy ahead of time and give yourself plenty of time to absorb the syllabus.
However, these last-minute study techniques may just be what you need to pass your exam. While we by no means endorse procrastination, these tips can help when you are left with no other option.