Studying can be a drag, which is why most of us decide to put it off until the last minute.
We all do this.
But don’t worry! That upcoming quiz or test you need to face tomorrow doesn’t have to be a chore! Nobody’s perfect, and there will be times where you genuinely won’t find the time or space to make sure you are prepared for those nerve-wracking exams. That being said, here are 10 last-minute studying techniques that are guaranteed to improve your test score! (just make sure not to make a habit of using them so frequently!)
1. Use Flashcards
Many of us are already quite familiar with this unique study tool. Flashcards have aided us time and time again throughout the many years we’ve spent in school and beyond, they are especially useful when it comes down to improving your memory and visual learning skills overall.
Of course, while using flashcards to cram information at the last minute isn’t exactly ideal, you would still be given the opportunity to take breaks when necessary and go over certain topics that need extra attention. For example, you could quiz yourself on certain terms or phrases that may be presented on your test. No need to hammer down everything at once just to burn yourself out. After all, no one knows you better than you know yourself!
2. Record yourself Reciting the Answers
Record yourself going over keywords and definitions that will present themselves in your upcoming test. What’s unique about this last-minute studying technique is that you can listen to the recording while you’re going about your day, relaxing, and even sleeping.
Unfortunately, it has not been proven scientifically that we can pick up a new skill or absorb new information while asleep, however, research has shown us that our brains are still active and that some form of learning is possible. That being said, If you do plan on using this method to try and successfully get through tomorrow’s test, I would highly recommend that you do not just listen to recordings while you sleep, but also listen to it when you’re awake.
3. Turn the Answers into a Catchy Tune
Getting that one song stuck in your head can be rather annoying, but in this case, it most certainly is useful! Turning your study guide into music will allow your brain to connect words to sound, making it much easier for you to retrieve that data for future use. Both rhythm and music are considered emotional triggers due to the amount of impact they have on our memories, and it’s because of this we can remember certain events that had taken place even as far back as our childhood.
The tune you create is for you to use alone. While you can share it with others, they might not find it useful or even appealing, but as long as it works for you and helps you remember specific details than you should have no problems in the grand scheme of things.
4. Read Out Loud
There are three specific learning characteristics we all use to keep track of the information given to us on a regular basis: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Reading information aloud for some people makes it easier for them to process what they have learned, in which case you would be taking a more auditory approach to your learning strategy.
This studying tactic might not work for everyone, as it can go in through one ear and out the next, but if your already aware of how attentive your listening and processing skills are, this tactic might just be for you. In some ways, this studying method can be seen as similar to recording yourself, and truth be told it is. However, regardless of whether or not you wish to repetitively put your own voice on repeat, reading anything aloud even once can be just as clear as it would be reading to yourself internally.
5. Write Everything Down
If you’re the type of guy or gal who finds it easier to recall information through more hands-on projects, then writing is definitely the way to go! Although this method can be tedious in more ways than one for some people, the more often you repeat a certain action, the less likely you are to mess up.
While your teacher or professor may give you a study guide to study from, it might not be information that you will completely understand. If this were to be the case, first, jot down everything you already know, that way you can prioritize what you really need to know and understand. Next, write down what you’ve learned not just once, but twice; maybe even three times if necessary. Once again, the more you repeat yourself, the less likely you are to mess up, let alone forget.
6. Visualize Comparisons
Compare terms and definitions to what you already know. For example, when I was in fifth grade I had a hard time remembering who invented the light bulb, so to get it right, I visualized one of my classmates (whose name happened to be Thomas) screwing in a light bulb. It’s a silly thought I know, but it worked, and that’s all that really mattered in the end.
It doesn’t have to make a lot of sense to you or anybody, but using someone or something as a reference to understand and remember what you need to know can be very effective when recalling information!
7. Highlight the Key Terms and Concepts
Instead of flipping through chapters upon chapters of text you will inevitably forget the next day, highlight only the key terms and concepts of what you need to know. This way you cannot only review the information you already weren’t sure of, but you would also be giving yourself more time to discover and solve any problems that you might not have been prepared for.
8. Go Over Your Study Guide an Hour Before the Test
Now, this is one of the least effective ways to study before a test, but it is useful if you ever find yourself in a bind. After all, the more recent the event the easier it is to remember. Make sure not to make a habit of this technique, because yes it can work, but not only are you robbing yourself the opportunity of learning something new but you’re also giving yourself less of a chance to pass.
9. Have Someone Else Quiz You
It’s always fun being with friends, so why not put together a little study group with them. Besides, your probably not the only one who neglected or forgot about the test coming up!
Put together a little game that involves you and your friend(s) quizzing one another. You could also take a more standard approach and use flashcards as mentioned above, maybe even break down certain terms that one might know more than the other. Not everyone finds it effective to study by themselves after all.
Yes. Believe it or not, a good night’s rest can and will effectively determine the outcome of your tests, quizzes, exams, and of course, the oh so dreaded Finals.
Pulling an all-nighter is a practice many college students find themselves far too familiar with. Whether it’s to finish work or attend a party, your cheating your brain out of receiving the energy it needs to optimize attention and concentration. You’re also cheating your immune system out of getting enough rest to fight off illnesses and infections, leaving your body vulnerable to the cold and flu seasons. So make sure to get plenty of rest!