So you’ve realized that your exam is coming up in just a few days and you’re nowhere near ready to take it on. Between your daily life responsibilities and schoolwork, there’s so much to do — and you barely have time to recover from the panic, let alone make sure you’re prepared! The following tips are just a few things you can do to help improve your grade, even when you feel that all is lost.
1. Stay Calm. We know the last thing you want to hear right now is “just stay calm” when you’re in a panic. But it’s important to try to eliminate the negative thoughts that hold you captive in this moment. Take a moment to take a deep breath and set your mind straight. There is nothing you can about the situation in the present moment, and agonizing about the problem will only serve to keep stuck.
2. Go to Sleep. It can be very tempting to attempt to “binge” study everything you need to know the night before an exam. But depriving yourself of sleep will do more harm than good and may severely affect your ability to concentrate on anything, therefore rendering all of your efforts totally obsolete. Be satisfied with where you’re at so far. It’s far much better to know some of the answers than to stay up all night and remember none of them the next day.
3. Prioritize. So, how do you learn everything you need to know without compromising on your sleep? The best way is to prioritize the topics that are likely to appear on the test. Most instructors will at the very least hint at the various topics you can expect on the exam. Put more effort into these topics and you at least have a chance at a passing grade.
4. Be Consistent. The worst thing you can do while trying to study last minute is to change up your studying style. For example, don’t attempt to read a full book in one sitting when you’ve never done it before. Changing your studying habits, no matter how much your roommate swears by them, will always derail your efforts to learn. Keep it practical: if you use flashcards, don’t skip the crucial step of making them. You are far more likely to learn something when you are comfortable.
5. Get Some Help. If there is a certain subject of topic that you simply find too difficult to understand, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Get a study buddy from your class to help you with the difficult areas and also help you remain on task. If you are taking an online course, a great place to find the kind of support you need is discussion boards where you can find a study partner in your time zone.
When you’re in the midst of exam panic, you may think to yourself, “I wish I could pay someone to do my homework!” While that’s an option for some, you can definitely implement the above tips that will help you improve your grades during crunch time. With these ideas, studying will be far more productive and even possible to get those target grades, even if you’ve forgotten an exam and have to study last minute. Happy studying!
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