You have an exam tomorrow, the day after or next week. You have either studied throughout the year, studied sparsely throughout the year, or not studied at all. Below are essential last minute tips, which will help even the most unprepared student in the run up to an exam.
1) Know your syllabus: This is obvious, but many people study generic level books which are not exam board specific; if it is not on the syllabus, it will not be on the exam. Get exam board specific materials. A standard GCSE, AS Level or A2 book (at unit levels) CAN be read through in a day.
2) Exam papers: In order to practice for the real thing, you should really go through several past papers. These will give you good indicators of what to expect. If you are short on time, just print the mark schemes and look at the answers alongside the questions, learn this answers in bullet format; if this is for a qualitative exam then cram recurring questions as much as you can. If you’re studying for a quantitative exam, try to follow the process and cram it, if the mark scheme isn’t detailed enough then get back to the books.
3) Stop procrastinating and start focusing: Log off of Facebook, stop looking for ways to make your learning easier, stop texting your friends telling them that you’re going to fail the exam, just study. You have your exam tomorrow, you just need to go all out, that is it.
4) Get in your environment: Tell everyone at home that you need to study, and that you need to be in a calm and quiet environment. If your surroundings still aren’t right at home then go to the library to do your work. If you can’t study during the day because of all the distraction, then buy some coffee and study at night.
5) Know how to cram: repeat, repeat, repeat. For qualitative exams: If you have a fancy phone, then use the voice recorder on it, say the point you need to remember over and over again, then play it back over and over again. Write bullet points out, over and over again. Make mnemonics (but do not waste time trying to learn how to spell this word).
6) Sleep well: A rested mind will perform better than a tired on, that is fact. If, however, it is 10pm, your exam is tomorrow and you really don’t have a clue, then stay up, cram hard and sleep a couple of hours.
7) Don’t worry to the extent that you end up doing no work: It is well known that people generally perform well under a certain amount of pressure, but overexerting your mind and turning your head into a pressure cooker is not wise. Take some breaks according to how you work, and listen to some relaxing music if you think that helps.
8) Stop comparing yourself to others: Looking at others as a benchmark can be useful, but use others as inspiration for you to do more work, do not let yourself get stressed if you haven’t done all the past papers twenty times like a couple of your friends. The most you can do is focus on the remaining time you have left and use it productively. Conversely, if you’ve done a lot more than your friends, it doesn’t mean that have to slow down, yes you may deserve a break, but there’s no such thing as being over-prepared.
9) Stop reading this, and start revising
10) See point 9).