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Student Life

How to Study Last Minute and Ace Your Exams

Published by Afterschool.my on Jun 22, 2018, 09:00 am

Yes, we know. Everyone says procrastination is bad but does it anyway. This is because many don’t have a strategy when it comes to carrying out responsibilities. Oftentimes, students just ‘go with the flow’ without realising that they could have done so much more with a little planning.Many of us have probably experienced burning the midnight oil to finish off all the chapters only to wake up late for exam the next day. That’s not healthy. In this article, we’ll give you some strategies on how to study last minute and excel in your exams at the same time.

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1) Organise Your Study Time According to Exam Dates

Study for the subjects with the nearest examination date first, followed by others. For example, if your English exam is on Monday and mathematics is on Friday, revise for your English exam first and then mathematics. You must be thinking, “Abuden!” (obviously). Although this sounds like a no-brainer, many of you still choose to study the easier subjects first and leave the difficult ones to the last minute (probably the day before the exam).

Studying the difficult subjects last doesn’t work for everyone because you’ll have to rush through them, not comprehend much of it and probably end up getting a lower grade. You’ll realise that you only need to study each subject once if you give 100% attention every time you study. This way, you get to do it last minute AND score a good grade.

Set a time frame for assignments

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Completing your assignments is important because they contribute to your overall exam grade. To do that, you need to set a time frame for each assignment you will be working on. You know best how long you’ll take to complete each one. Perhaps a subject you’re not so interested in will need more effort and a longer time to complete. After estimating the time needed to complete each assignment and taking into consideration the deadlines, put them down on your schedule. Once that’s done, allocate time on your calendar to do other things as well, including leisure activities.

This way, you’ll get to spend time with friends, do house chores, watch a movie and even work part time! However, this step is only effective if you plan your time wisely and follow your schedule closely. No cheat days! Give yourself a little extra time to complete each assignment too. If you need an hour to complete one page and there are 10 pages to finish, it is wise to set aside 10 plus two extra hours for research and proofreading.

Sample calendar from GoConqr

2) Speed Reading

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Learning to read fast can save you plenty of time. You don’t need to read your textbook word for word. Scan through the page, pick up the main points or keywords and you’ll be able to grasp the main lesson – especially if you’ve been paying attention in class.

It is also helpful to write your own summary after every lesson and compile your own notes so that when you’re nearing an exam, you only need to go through your five-page, bite-sized info rather than a 100-page textbook. That would definitely make for effective speed reading.

3) Study Smart

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There’s no time to study hard at the last minute. You need to study smart. But how do you do that? The trick is to study without feeling like you’re actually studying. Spending an hour reading your textbook can seem like an eternity for most students when one hour is not enough to watch a movie. So why not learn by watching online videos? There are plenty of helpful, alternative online resources for you to choose from such as documentaries, tutorials, infographics, short videos, audiobooks and free online courses.

Learning from interactive sources such as cute animated videos, colourful images, a song or even something that resembles your favourite celebrity will keep you engaged. Who says studying must always be reading? *wink

Student apps

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Don’t you just feel frustrated at people who have photographic memory? They read their textbook the day before exam and remember the details for the rest of their lives.

If you have been furiously reading your textbooks but struggle to commit much to memory, then download BenchPrep. This mobile app has a vast base of flashcards, practice questions and study lessons. It also offers interactive test preparatory courses that will help you locate the exam study materials you need at the last minute. No more scrambling to find your notes under a huge pile of other notes.

In case you have to run to the grocery store and didn’t want to miss a minute of cramming everything in your head, BenchPrep’s flashcards and fun quizzes are helpful too. They pop up randomly on your phone while you’re on the go, offering you little nuggets of knowledge that play a huge role in helping you remember what you have studied.

4) Do Past Year Exam Papers

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Okay, what if you’re too lazy to do any of the above or they are just not your ‘thing’?

Answer: Do past year exam papers and ask your lecturers to mark them. By doing that, you’re actually already preparing for your exam. Start doing past year papers early – perhaps a month before exam – so you get sufficient practice.

Keep an eye out for repeating or similar questions. Chances are, they will show up again in the next exam. If you notice that the exam questions tend not to repeat themselves anytime soon, then you know to focus on other topics for your upcoming exam. The point is, find out the question trends and get the right answers.

5) Study Groups

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Last-minute study groups are great for interactive and fun learning, unless you start talking about that cute guy in class. So make it a point to focus because if you maximise your attention span during this period, it will be as effective as if you have studied earlier. Plan quizzes and test each other. Do whatever it takes to keep your focus and you will be ready to sit for your exams next week.

Exchange information

You don’t always have to read everything. Divide topics equally among your group of friends so everyone reads only what he or she is assigned to. Set aside time for everyone to share what they have learnt. By exchanging information, you’re putting in minimal effort but learning so much more.

The next time someone tells you not to procrastinate, just give them these points. Let’s get real. We are all guilty of wasting time doing unfruitful activities when we could have planned our day more strategically. These five steps will give you room to do what you love and still ace your exams.

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