23 Last Minute Study Tips You Wish You’d Found Earlier
Are you struggling to retain information while cramming for an important exam at the last minute? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered!
Our last-minute study tips will help you turn the tide in your favor. You can optimize your study environment for maximum efficiency, use mnemonics to grasp the key concepts and focus on improving your weakest areas to enhance your academic performance.
Whether you are a student facing an impending exam next few weeks or someone seeking to enhance your learning strategies, this blog post is a goldmine of knowledge you won’t want to miss.
1. Prepare for productive study sessions
Not in your cozy pajamas, please! You may feel more relaxed and less motivated to work if you dress in comfortable clothes, but you don’t have that luxury, do you?
As more and more individuals start working from home, you’ll hear people encourage you to wake up and dress like you are going to an office atmosphere, which makes a difference.
Now that you are focused on maximizing your productivity, it is time to put on your grown-up clothes and get to work.
Remember to gather your belongings and pack your backpack because we are leaving the house.
2. Change your environment
Step outside the house! Just as it is not recommended to study in pajamas, it is also not recommended to study on your living room couch.
This is associated with relaxation and comfort, which can make it difficult to focus on studying. It is better to study in a dedicated study space that is free from distractions.
Although you can accomplish almost anything from the comfort of your bed, changing your environment is key to altering your perspective.
The first step is to prepare, and the next step is to leave your comfort zone.
3. Organize your study environment for maximum efficiency
You should maximize your study space and eliminate distractions if you want to study more effectively. Try to focus on your study notes rather than social media.
If you prefer to study silently, you can use noise-canceling headphones to block out distracting sounds. Inexpensive earplugs will work if you’re on a tight budget.
4. Organize your workflow
You need to prioritize revision and efficiently manage your time to get the most out of your last-minute study. It may seem straightforward, but studies reveal that more than 70% of students consistently put off doing their work and need help focusing.
If this seems familiar, you require a study schedule and a framework for process management. The ‘Getting Things Done’ or abbreviated ‘GTD’ framework is one of the most well-known.
David Allen, a renowned expert in time management, developed the straightforward, five-step GTD paradigm. It helps you prioritize tasks and concentrate on your most important tasks.
Examples of this include assignments and revision tasks.
5. Utilize mnemonics to grasp essential concepts
Mnemonic strategies use patterns that help you remember a phrase or concept. Mnemonic devices include rhymes, melodies, poems, drawings, pictures, and acronyms. They add meaning to ordinary things to help you remember them.
This method can help you keep information in your short-term and long-term memory.
Here’s an illustration: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are the planets of our solar system.
People frequently use mnemonics to recall the planets’ names in alphabetical order. Each planet’s name’s initial becomes the initial of one word in the statement:
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos.
It is simpler to recall the entire list of planets when each word in this statement is associated with a different planet.
Often, educational settings use such mnemonics. They provide several people access to a common memory device.
However, making your own mnemonics is more beneficial. You can study and memorize information in a way that works for you by creating a mnemonic that is particular to your learning style.
Check out our article, How Do You Train Your Memory Like a Memory Champion, to learn more about how to improve your memory.
6. Concentrate on improving your areas of weakness
Concentrating on your weak areas can help you get the most out of your last-minute study. Don’t try to review everything you learned in class and your study notes again. Put your attention on the information you don’t know (yet).
Still, trying to figure out where to start?
Find out how you are fairing by taking a practice exam or responding to a few sample questions. Find your areas of weakness and study them.
Reviewing your weak spots will have the biggest impact on your grades.
7. Explain your answers to others
The ultimate test of comprehending anything is conveying it to someone else. This is one of the most effective activities to do in order to make the most of your last-minute studying.
Try to explain your notes or mind map to a study buddy or member of your family. You will find your weak points and knowledge gaps by explaining your responses aloud to others.
8. Be unavailable
It’s not a secret that our phones are a major source of distraction. In addition to calls and messages, other social media platforms are vying for our limited attention.
Therefore, it’s simpler to put your phone in airplane mode because you might be unable to reach every family member and friend to ask them not to text you. After that, turn off every social media notification.
9. Use Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique was created with increasing productivity in mind.
Here is how it works:
You set a timer for 25 minutes and give your task your whole attention with no interruptions. Take a brief pause of no more than three minutes after the timer sounds.
When the timer goes off for the fourth time after you’ve repeated that procedure three times, take a longer rest of 15 to 30 minutes.
The lengthier pause is ideal for grabbing a snack and quickly checking your phone, if necessary. Just don’t lose track of time on your breaks.
You may also like: Spaced Revision vs. Spaced Repetition
To prepare for the upcoming test, it is advisable to fully immerse yourself in the subject matter by prioritizing it over other activities. Interacting with a subject is the best way to learn it.
That includes anything that gets you thinking about it. Use Google and YouTube until you are confident in your knowledge.
While seeking out additional resources such as documentaries or discussions with classmates may be helpful, it is important to prioritize rest and nutrition to ensure maximum material retention.
When looking for something to watch, ensure it’s relevant to the subject.
Likewise, when searching for a podcast to listen to, find one about it. If you’re looking for study material, consider entering your search query on Google and browsing through the results.
11. Exercise during study breaks
Regular study breaks are essential, even if you’re cramming information at the last minute. This will help you maintain energy levels and sharpen your focus.
You can keep healthy and mentally prepared for more studying by exercising even a little during your short break or longer break.
You could take a brief jog around the block or a stroll around the college’s grounds. You can also do pushups or situps to stay motivated and alert.
Nevertheless, it is important to be disciplined with the amount of time you allocate for your study break.
12. Study in groups
There are numerous benefits to studying in groups. They act as a sounding board as you work through the ideas and subject matter you try to understand.
Additionally, they help you fill in some of the gaps in your notes and resources and offer a different perspective or insight that can help you better understand the subject matter.
Study groups can also reduce the time needed to learn, provided everyone does their fair share of the work.
Study groups may or may not be beneficial, depending on how much (or how little) preparation you made in the weeks leading up to the exam.
Joining a study group is only a good idea if you have done something to prepare because you will only serve as a distraction for others.
However, enrolling and participating in a study group can tremendously help your study sessions if you have already done some of the work and are trying to fill in the gaps.
13. Eat healthy
Studying with low energy can be a challenging, uphill battle. It is understandable to want to choose a high-caffeine fix or fast food for convenience, but you must exercise caution. You need to eat healthy.
When used in moderation, caffeine can be a study aid; however, if consumed excessively, it can rapidly become a huge distraction.
Alternatively, choosing dark chocolate can positively affect the brain as it promotes blood flow and will help you stay calm.
It is only natural to want to grab some fast food from your preferred pizza or burger establishment. It’s quick and easy, right?
Yes, it is, but the food could be healthier. Everyone has indulged in too much sugar and fast food and enjoyed it.
However, you’ll experience the inevitable crash that comes next, leaving you with exhaustion and wanting to sleep.
The last thing you need when studying for an exam is to lose a lot of energy just before the test starts. It is better to eat healthy and well-balanced meals to nourish your body.
You may also like: Which Foods Improve Memory?
14. Take a practice exam
As mentioned before, interaction with the subject is crucial to learning it. You can also achieve this by taking notes and practice exams.
Taking notes by merely repeating the professor’s words is not engagement but mindless transcription.
Active note-taking is required. This entails translating the information into your own words.
To reflect on the class material you are trying to learn, you could develop your own parallels and models. Make notes in a way that makes it easier for self-testing.
Several note-taking techniques are available, but the Cornell approach is recommended most.
With the help of this technique, you may organize your note-taking page so that you designate specific parts for summarizing and taking a practice exam or formulating your own questions about the topic.
15. Use flashcards
Flashcards, a tried-and-true study aid, can help you organize a productive, last-minute study session. You can jot down various terms or phrases on colored flashcards to help you study for the test.
It has been demonstrated that using flashcards can increase your memory recall and aid in developing your visual learning skills.
One way to prepare for a test is to create flashcards with the terms covered on the exam. Then, inscribe the terms’ definitions on the backs of the cards.
To ensure you understand the definitions, you can test yourself on the terminology or ask a friend or sibling to do so. One of the study techniques backed by science is self-testing.
In fact, a recent study found that, on average, most students who took practice exams outperformed those who did not. Therefore, be sure to take practice exams after studying for better results.
16. Try using visual or audio aids
If you prefer to learn best from visual or auditory clues, you might also rely on audio or visual aids to assist you in studying at the last minute.
You could also be able to recall things more quickly and effectively by using audio or visual aids as opposed to reading them on a page.
To assist you in remembering the subject, you can either listen to an audio recording of the course material or record yourself reading definitions and phrases from the textbook.
You can also consider watching some related videos to better comprehend a concept from your textbook.
You can customize your learning and maximize your study time by watching videos that break down a particular concept rather than one that covers the entire course.
17. Hire a tutor
If you have trouble understanding certain concepts or themes in a class, consider hiring a tutor to assist you with your studies. Hiring a professional tutor or ask a friend doing well in the class to tutor you to fill the knowledge gaps.
Try to ask for assistance from others on the subjects you find difficult.
18. Maintain a positive attitude and press on
It is tempting to waste time beating yourself up when you are so far behind in your exam preparation, but you should spend that time studying.
You did delay, but don’t condemn yourself too much. However, stop self-berating and get to work. You only have a little time to make up the lost ground.
Having a bad attitude won’t help you prepare for the exam. Focus on the preparations you can make to get ready.
Quickly develop a plan, then carry it through. You can do this!
Refrain from concentrating on how terrible you feel about putting things off and all the work you have ahead of you with the approaching deadline.
Instead, think about how wonderful it will be to finish studying and how well you will perform on the test.
19. Set realistic goals
Set reasonable goals for what you can review and accomplish each day, even if you only have two weeks to prepare for exams before your finals.
Most of us cannot be productive at our desks for 10 hours straight. However, a small fraction of us can. Realistic objectives entail scheduling rest breaks and other downtimes into your study sessions.
As a result, you should set attainable goals and pause whenever you feel restless. When you study and are restless, you’ll be unproductive and unsuccessful.
You should start reordering your priorities and studying habits as your exams draw near.
Focus on your strengths rather than your flaws if you only have a short time before your finals. Ensure that the topics you are knowledgeable about have a solid foundation.
20. Teach the content
Teaching anything allows you to assess your subject knowledge and competence. When we instruct others, our brains can divide the subject matter into easily digestible chunks of information.
In addition to ensuring that you are knowledgeable on the issue, this can also help in giving you a good understanding of it. (and occasionally from a fresh angle).
21. Use active reading
Making notes, paying attention to lectures, underlining passages in your textbooks, etc., are all examples of passive study. Quizzing, testing, and practicing without consulting your notes are all examples of active study.
Active learning aids in familiarization with the subject and applying previously acquired knowledge and concepts.
This is because rigorous problem-solving and critical thinking are requirements of active learning.
However, it’s crucial to remember that you can only understand things better once you actively study.
22. Study with music
This is debatable because some individuals swear by listening to music as they study, while others see it as a distraction. Adding music to your workflow can motivate you to keep going.
Additionally, it aids with memory retention by tying the ideas you want to learn to the music you’re listening to. Listen to music without lyrics or music you have heard a million times before is less likely to create mental stress.
Here is a Spotify study playlist you might appreciate if you’re having difficulties finding good music to study with.
23. Get enough sleep
The greatest thing you can do now that you feel well prepared is to get some good night’s sleep. Be sure you obtain at least six hours of sleep, and follow the guidelines.
You can study effectively if you get a full night’s sleep.
Takeaway: Master the art of last-minute studying
If you’re feeling stressed about how to study last minute and still achieve success, these study tips will help you excel.
You’ll be well-equipped to perform well in your exams by making wise time management decisions, avoiding distractions, getting enough rest, and planning your exam day.
Remember that it is never too late to improve your habits and boost your learning potential.
Now that you are aware of these valuable tips, it is time to put them into practice.
If you’re ready to take your academic success to the next level, enroll in our comprehensive Iris Reading Personal Productivity Course.
It will help you improve your time management skills, increase focus by reducing distractions, and gain knowledge on what techniques are effective or ineffective.