If you’re a student and currently facing the epic time of the year;
The last hours before an exam can be very stressful. You may be worrying that you have not done enough revision, or that what you do now will be all that you can remember. However, it can also be an extremely useful period for consolidation, and should therefore be used wisely.
Of course, it is possible that you have left all your revision to the last minute. While this is not ideal, some of these tips will also be useful. Perhaps the most crucial tip, whether this is the end or the beginning of your revision, is DON’T PANIC! It definitely won’t help and is likely to seriously hinder your ability to concentrate. Stay calm, and all will be better.
Maybe you’re already super prepared and that’s great. But that’s not the case for every one of us. So if you’re feeling stressed, here are some tips for last-minute efficiency!
#1 MANAGE YOUR WORKFLOW
To get the most out of the last-minute study, you need to manage your time effectively and prioritize revision. It sounds simple but studies show that students always procrastinate and find it hard to concentrate.
On the last day before your exam, every second doesn’t really count. But by the end of the day, you are likely to feel as if it does, so you may as well start early and make the best of it. You should aim to be working productively no later than the time that your exam will start the next day so that you know you can do it.
One of the most popular frameworks is called “Getting Things Done“. It is a short and simple framework that was created to help you prioritize things like emails, assignments, and revision tasks, and helps you focus on your most important tasks. The GTD framework is used by many time management training courses and is also included in our Pandai App that has everything under schedule including our Live Tuition, Notes, and Flashcards according to the subjects that you need to learn!
#2 OPTIMIZE YOUR STUDY AREA
To study last minute, you need to optimize your study area and cut out distractions. Your study area could be your bedroom, living room, or even a public library, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is learning how to focus on your study notes instead of social media.
- If you prefer studying in silence, try using noise-canceling headphones to cut out distracting sounds while you study.
- If you work better with music, you can try using a music app to listen to focus-boosting soundtracks while you study. Youtube and Spotify also have some tremendous deep-focus tunes! Plus, it’s free!
- For ultimate concentration, we recommend turning off your Wi-Fi or even turning off your phone altogether. But if this sounds like a step too far, you can try using a productivity app such as Forest that can help you to stay off your phone.
#3 FOCUS ON YOUR WEAK SPOTS
The key to getting the most out of the last-minute study is focusing on your weak spots. You can’t revise all of your class material and study notes, so don’t. Instead, focus on the stuff you don’t know yet!
Therefore, a good idea to read over summaries such as mind maps, or one-page bullet point summaries of each topic. If you have not already prepared those, doing so can be a good way to review the topic, and check your understanding. Writing essay plans for past exam questions can also be a good way to both checks your understanding and reassure yourself that you would have been able to answer questions in previous years.
If there is any topic that you feel particularly uncertain about, it may be helpful to review that in more detail.
Not sure where to begin? Try taking a practice exam or answering a few sample questions and see how you score. Find the weakest areas and study up. Brushing up on your weak spots will have the biggest impact on your overall grades. Trust us, Pandai has all solutions you need. Our tutors are ready to help anytime!
#4 EXPLAIN YOUR ANSWERS TO OTHERS
A problem shared is a problem halved, and those around you may be able to help, even if it is only keeping out of your way, or making you cups of tea from time to time. Obviously, this will not work if everyone around you is also revising. But if you are at home with your parents, they may:
- be glad to know that you are working and everything is under control;
- be happy to stay out of your way; and
- might even make you the odd drink or sandwich if you ask nicely.
Being able to explain something to someone else is the gold-standard test for true understanding. If you’re looking to get the most out of your last-minute study, this is one of the best exercises to do.
Find a friend or family member and try to explain your notes, mind maps, or revision flashcards to them. Explaining your answers aloud to others will help you identify weak areas and spot any gaps in your knowledge. They will understand what you are going through, and are likely to be calming company.
#5 TRY TO BE HEALTHY
Staying healthy is one of the best things you can do when studying last minute. We recommend drinking water, eating nutritious food, and exercising.
If you’re like us, then just the thought of last-minute study can have you reaching for another cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull. But don’t! Energy drinks can give you a short-term boost but often leave you feeling tired and irritable in the long term. The best advice is boring, but it works – drinks some water! It will keep you hydrated and helps you concentrate.
#6 PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Most people sleep easier knowing that their bags are packed for the following day. Make sure your pens, pencils, and other supplies are in good working order so you can go to bed with a clear mind. Packing your bag the night before and planning your exam day can have a great effect on your performance. You’ll sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever’s in front of you.
By all means go to the library, especially if that has been your usual revision spot, but do avoid sitting around comparing how stressed you are, or how little you know. It will not help.
It is a particularly good idea to avoid anyone who you know is particularly stressed. Yes, of course, you need to look after your friends but, right now, you are more important.
#7 TAKE A BREAK
Sleep has an important effect on exam performance! Students who get a full night’s sleep outperform their sleepier peers. This shows the dangers of pulling an all-nighter before your exams. Instead, focus on getting proper rest and having at least eight hours of sleep on the night before your exam.
This is because, you still need to vary what you are doing, to keep your mind interested. This is, perhaps, even more, important today than other days: falling asleep over your books is not going to improve your peace of mind.
BEST OF LUCK!
If you’re wondering how to study last minute, these tips will help you excel. You have done your revision, and it will be fine. It is, after all, only an exam, and not the end of the world. A positive attitude is likely to help you more than anything else tomorrow. From planning your time effectively to minimizing distractions and getting enough rest, you’ll be well-prepared to give any exam your best shot!
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