How to pass exams when you have got absolutely no time to revise
Every year, students worldwide repeat the same mantras. “It’s going to be different this time. I’m going to stay on top of everything, colour code all my notes and never leave anything to the last minute.”
Of course, in reality that never happens.
This is not a guide about how to be a more organised person – right now, you feel like you will never be able to look a calendar in the eye again. This is a lesson on last-minute, caffeine fuelled cramming.
Here’s how to pass exams when you’ve got barely any time to revise…
1) Don’t panic.
Probably the most important thing to remember. It might be the most importantexam of your LIFE but you won’t get anything done if you start running around like a headless chicken.
2) Find a suitable place to work
Your desk, the kitchen table, the library, a cafe, but wherever works for you and be prepared to stay there. Stay away from your bed, however as it will increase the likelihood of accidental napping.
3) Be prepared
Assemble your resources – paper, notes, water bottle. Don’t worry if you can’t find your favourite pen. This is crunch time. Make do with the pink highlighter if you have to.
4) Get rid of fun distractions
Do what you have to make yourself concentrate. Put your phone in another room. Turn off the Wifi. Work on paper. If you need to fact check something online, start a list to look up later.
5) Make a plan
You haven’t got time to cover everything so pick a few areas to revise and tick them off a list. You won’t get 100% but it’s better than only knowing one fact about every topic.
6) Time management
You’ve broken your work up, now do the same with your time. Try to work in 25 minute blocks, with a five minute break at the end. If you know there’s a topic you find tricky allow yourself more time to go over it.
7) Actually start work
Harder than it seems, this. Really MAKE yourself do it.
8) Don’t get frustrated – prioritise
If you get stuck, don’t stress. Make a note and you can come back to it later (if there’s time).
9) Allow for (and accept) some procrastination
Procrastination happens. It’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up. Just get straight back to work and don’t let it throw you off.
10) STUDY BREAK TIME
11) Snacks and food
Your brain needs food to LIVE and LEARN! If you’re staying up all night have something substantial and quick: cheese on toast, baked beans, Pot Noodle. Sip on some water whilst working to keep hydrated.
If you start feeling jittery from all those espressos, STOP DRINKING THEM.
Make an effort to eat something proper just before the exam.
12) Speak to another human being
Even if it’s just your mum. Don’t start feeling like the walls are closing in around you. A quick phone call will remind you that there is life outside exams and that soon you will be back in the world of the living.
It’s 4am. Sleep is for the weak, right? WRONG. You will perform much, much better the next day if you brain has had a chance to rest and process the information you’ve thrown at it.
14) …but make sure you wake up again
Get your morning-person friend to call you. Set your least favourite song as your alarm. Once you’re up, try to get stay alert. Take a cooler shower than you normally would, stick your head out the window to get some fresh air and make sure you have breakfast.
15) Look over your notes
Look over your notes on the bus or whisper formulae to yourself as your walk to the exam hall.
16) Don’t panic in the exam
BREATHE. And then smash that exam like the amazing human you are. Read everything through carefully and tackle the problems you know best or are worth the most points first. Keep an eye on the clock and make sure you’re not spending too much time on one section.
Yay, you did it! Try not to think about the exam – obsessing won’t help anyone. Go out for dinner, cry on a friend’s shoulder or go to the pub.
18) Remember to never, ever leave things to the last minute again
Yeah, that’s not going to happen.