In a dream world, we would all be studying weeks before exams, feeling fully prepared for the big day. But what if this doesn’t happen? I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit, and sometimes, you’ve just got to deal with that last minute study grind.
If you do find yourself having to study for a big test in a few days, here are my best tips for still acing it.
- Stay positive
This may sound cliche, but staying positive really is key. Starting late doesn’t mean you won’t get a good mark. Remembering this and staying positive and calm is so important. I’ve started studying the day before many important exams and still gotten marks I was happy with— there is hope! Instead of thinking about how I’m going to fail a test because I started studying late, I think about how I’m going to ace it and how good it’ll feel when I’m done.
2) Good study environments
Knowing what environments works best for you is also important. If I’m going to spend a couple days studying, I always make sure that I’m in an environment that works well for me. Personally, I like being completely alone so I can read my notes out-loud. I know that I don’t work well with friends, so I avoid the temptation to take up those fun study-buddy offers— last minute studying is really time to put in the hard work!
3) Study smart
When I’m starting studying late, I know I won’t have time to memorize every single thing on the exam. So, I make sure that I’m instead studying smartly to do well on the exam.
Before I start, I always think about what will likely be on the exam. I try putting myself in my teacher’s head. What are they passionate about? What do they want us to learn? What parts of the course did they seem to emphasize? If you can find past tests from the course, you can also get a sense of what information the professor likes to test.
Once I’ve identified what information will likely be on the test, I make sure I know this really well. If I’m only going to study certain parts of the course, I ensue that I know it super well so I can really impress and get a great mark
In first-year university, I had to write an exam for my European history course. The course was so broad, I knew there was no way I could study for everything. So, I went online and looked at the course’s finals from the previous 10 years. By doing this, I noticed about five questions that consistently showed up on the past exams. Sure enough, I prepared detailed answers for these questions and they showed up- no other studying was required, as I only had to answer these questions!
With the right combination of positivity, smarts, and hard work, I know I can do well on last minute studying adventures! Good luck!