8 Ways to Cram the Night Before an Exam
You’re desperate and need as much info crammed into your brain to save yourself and your grades. Here’s how to study the night before an exam.
Published 23 May 2019
Panic clouds your mind as you realise the biggest exam of your life is tomorrow and you haven’t started studying for it at all.
You definitely know you’ll fail the exam gloriously if you walk into the exam hall feeling as unprepared as you are right now, so you know you have no choice but to cram.
Yes, cramming isn’t the best way to study and it isn’t good for you, but you’re desperate and need as much info as possible crammed into your brain to save yourself and your grades. Don’t worry, we have a few hacks on how to study the night before an exam in the most efficient way. All the best!
#1. Camp out at a quiet place
Packed computer labs or other places buzzing with equally-stressed students will not help you at this point; their anxiety and worries are infectious, and you don’t want to be even more stressed out.
Get all the silence you need at your study desk in your bedroom or park yourself at a public library. The key is to get into the zone where nothing will distract you from your last-minute studying.
#2. Put your phone away
Studying without your phone in sight is a pretty obvious method to avoid being distracted, but sometimes the most obvious things are the ones we miss out.
Your stress levels are at an ultimate high now, and to alleviate that, you might pick up your phone and get sucked into the never-ending vortex of social media. Don’t let that happen! Make the most of your precious time before the exam by cramming properly instead of letting your time go to waste on your phone. Remember, this is your last chance to save your grades.
#3. Make a list of must-study topics
Now’s not the time to open your textbook and realise with dismay that you have a lot to study. Banish those thoughts and figure out which topics were prioritised by your teacher or lecturer and try to determine which will most likely be on the test.
Draw up a study plan and start at the very beginning. Jot down the main ideas and write down notes as you go; this will increase your understanding of the topics and will greatly aid your ability to remember the information during your exam later.
#4. Make flow-charts and diagrams
At this point, you might feel like throwing in the towel and calling it quits. Please don’t! Just take a deep breath and convince yourself that it’s for the best. The key is to focus.
If blocks of text don’t work for you, come up with diagrams and charts that make sense to you. These graphs will make your revision time more effective and their easy-to-understand format will ease the cramming process.
#5. When at a loss, YouTube it
You tried wrapping your head around those science formulas and definitions but still have no clue what any of them mean. Memorising hasn’t proved effective either, and you’re slowly feeling that initial feeling of doom you felt before you started your cramming session.
Keep calm and look to YouTube for help. Learning your study materials via a different medium — easy-to-understand video tutorials — will refresh your mind and brain, plus the audiovisual information will be easier for your overwhelmed brain to digest and comprehend.
#6. Read someone else's notes
Since your notebook is blissfully blank and free from any scrawls, make a copy of someone else’s notes and try to cram as much as you can.
The work has already been done for you and all you need is to retain the information, so sit down and read as much as you can. Try writing down the notes in your own notebook in order to maximise the material you just read.
#7. Find last year's exam paper
If you’re lucky, your exam paper will be a little similar to last year’s one. A Google search should suffice when it comes to tracking down the paper, or run to the nearest bookstore for a collection of past year papers.
Start working on the paper, taking note of your mistakes and remembering the answers. The exam format will prepare you for what’s to come.
#8. Go to sleep
Yes, you read that right. Staying up all night to cram won’t help if you fall asleep while studying. You might even miss your exams the next day! So its best to rest your tired brain when you know you’re falling asleep.
Aim to get at least 3 hours of sleep (that’s one sleep cycle) so you’ll emerge rested and ready to conquer the exam.
And there you have it, 8 ways to study the night before an exam. Remember to only use these tips when desperation calls; last-minute studying isn’t good for you. Good luck and all the best with your exams!