Schools Training

Last Minute Exam Study Tips

23 APR 2014

Rationally, we all know that having good study habits is the best way to prepare for tests, but in the real world, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of everything that needs to be done. If you find yourself studying for an exam at the last minute, here are some things you can do to get the most out of those emergency study sessions. Just keep in mind that this is definitely not the best way to study and you shouldn’t make a habit out of it.

Manage your time wisely (what’s left of it)

Start by creating a quick outline of the material you need to study. Focus on the material you are least familiar with first, then revise the topics you already know well. Make sure to revise the material actively. The more of your brain gets engaged by the act of studying, the more you will remember.  Memory is not a box in one part of your brain that things are either in or out. Instead, memory comes in different types, like verbal memory, visual memory, audio memory, muscle memory and more. The more your brain does with the information, the more you improve your chance of remembering. Make up mnemonics (memory tricks like acronyms or little songs) if you need to. Extract key points and write them down yourself somewhere. Even if you’re just copying them out, this is better than just reading, since more of your brain is involved.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Think positive! You only have so much time left before it’s all over, so there’s no point in bashing yourself or regretting past mistakes. Encourage yourself by thinking about what you do know, then work on what you don’t. The human mind can do wonders when under pressure. Don’t waste your time worrying and crack open a book!

Avoid distractions

Social media doesn’t know that you’re studying for an exam, and will continue making demands from you. If you really want to concentrate, you’ll have to turn off your cell phone and log out of Facebook, Twitter and any other social networking sites you normally use. Ask someone you trust to temporarily change your password, if you need to. Print off your notes and head to the library. Bring your textbooks with you, but leave your computer at home. If the library’s too crowded, consult your school directory or the Canadian college directories for a full listing of study areas available to you. There are plenty of ways to remove distractions from your life until you have time for them again.

Stay healthy

Staying up all night to study right before the exam is extremely risky. You may end up so tired that you’ll have difficulty remembering information or working out problems. If you want your brain to work at its best, make sure you get enough sleep. Don’t rely on energy drinks either. Try proteins, like fish or eggs, food that will slowly release energy. There are plenty of educational articles you can find online about what type of foods will help you perform at your best and which ones to avoid.


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