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7 last minute study tips that actually work

Written by Laure Busschot on 11 June 2019 for Tech Graduates

If you’re a student, June and January usually mean one thing; exam time! Maybe you’re super prepared and that’s great. But that’s not the case for every one of us. So if you’re feeling stressed, here are some tips for last-minute efficiency and a care free summer. Because you don’t want to add August to that list we mentioned earlier.

 

How to study last minute

  1. Manage your workflow
  2. Optimize your study area
  3. Focus on your weak spots
  4. Explain your answers to others
  5. Be healthy
  6. Plan plan plan
  7. Take a break

#1 Manage your workflow

To get the most out of last-minute study, you need to manage your time effectively and prioritize revision. It sounds simple but studies show that over 70 percent of students regularly procrastinate and find it hard to concentrate.

 

If this sounds familiar, what you need is a framework to help you manage your workflow. One of the most popular frameworks is called ‘Getting Things Done’ or ‘GTD’ for short. GTD is a simple, five-step framework created by legendary time-management guru David Allen. It helps you prioritize things like emails, assignments, and revision tasks, and helps you focus on your most important tasks.

The GTD framework is used by many time management training courses and is also included in our Start Smart program. We even put together a handy guide to starting with GTD, so check it out and start getting shit done!

#2 Optimize your study area (and cut out distractions)

To study last minute, you need to optimize your study area and cut out distractions. Your study area could be your bedroom, living room or even a public library, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is learning how to focus on your study notes instead of social media.

  • If you prefer studying in silence, try using noise-canceling headphones to cut out distracting sounds while you study. We can highly recommend the Bose QuietComfort but if you’re on a budget, cheap earplugs can do the job as well.
  • If you work better with music, you can try using an app like Brain.fm to listen to focus-boosting soundtracks while you study. Spotify also has some great deep focus tunes!
  • For ultimate concentration, we recommend turning off your Wi-Fi or even turning off your phone altogether. But if this sounds like a step too far, you can try using a productivity app such as Forest that can help you to stay off your phone.

#3 Focus on your weak spots

The key to getting the most out of last-minute study is focusing on your weak spots. You can’t revise all of your class material and study notes, so don’t. Instead, focus on the stuff you don’t know (yet).

Not sure where to begin? Try taking a practice exam or answering a few sample questions and see how you score. Find the weakest areas and study up. Brushing up on your weak spots will have the biggest impact on your overall grades. Trust us!

#4 Explain your answers to others

Being able to explain something to someone else is the gold-standard test for true understanding. If you’re looking to get the most out of your last-minute study, this is one of the best exercises to do.

 

Find a friend or family member and try to explain your notes, mind maps or revision flashcards to them. Explaining your answers aloud to others will help you identify weak areas and spot any gaps in your knowledge.

#5 (Try to) Be healthy

Staying healthy is one of the best things you can do when studying last minute. We recommend drinking water, eating nutritious food and exercising.

If you’re like us, then just the thought of last-minute study can have you reaching for another cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull. But don’t! Energy drinks can give you a short-term boost but often leave you feeling tired and irritable on the long-term. The best advice is boring, but it works – drink some water! It will keep you hydrated and helps you concentrate.

And if you really need a caffeine fix, make sure to use a cool mug, like this one for example…

7 last minute study tips that actually work If you’re a student, June and January usually mean one thing; exam time! Maybe you’re super prepared and that’s great. But that’s not the case for every one of us. So if you’re feeling stressed, here are some tips for last-minute efficiency and a care free summer. Because you don’t want to add August to that list we mentioned earlier. GIF: https://giphy.com/gifs/BROADCITY-season-5-episode-6-broad-city-82SkjxpjEuySEaOVGw How to study last minute 1. Manage your workflow 2. Optimize your study area 3. Focus on your weak spots 4. Explain your answers to others 5. Be healthy 6. Plan plan plan 7. Take a break 1. Manage your workflow To get the most out of last-minute study, you need to manage your time effectively and prioritize revision. It sounds simple but studies show that over 70 percent of students regularly procrastinate and find it hard to concentrate. GIF: https://giphy.com/gifs/share-procrastination-procrastinationgif-jkPTSxuolA5jy If this sounds familiar, what you need is a framework to help you manage your workflow. One of the most popular frameworks is called ‘Getting Things Done’ or ‘GTD’ for short. GTD is a simple, five-step framework created by legendary time-management guru David Allen. It helps you prioritize things like emails, assignments, and revision tasks, and helps you focus on your most important tasks. The GTD framework is used by many time management training courses and is also included in our Start Smart program. We even put together a handy guide to starting GTD, so check it out and start getting shit done! 2. Optimize your study area (and cut out distractions) To study last minute, you need to optimize your study area and cut out distractions. Your study area could be your bedroom, living room or even a public library, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is learning how to focus on your study notes instead of social media. • If you prefer studying in silence, try using noise-canceling headphones to cut out distracting sounds while you study. We can highly recommend the Bose QuietComfort but if you’re on a budget, cheap earplugs can do the job as well. • If you work better with music, you can try using an app like Brain.fm to listen to focus-boosting soundtracks while you study. Spotify also has some great deep focus tunes! • For ultimate concentration, we recommend turning off your Wi-Fi or even turning off your phone altogether. But if this sounds like a step too far, you can try using a productivity app such as Forest that can help you to stay off your phone. 3. Focus on your weak spots The key to getting the most out of last-minute study is focusing on your weak spots. You can’t revise all of your class material and study notes, so don’t. Instead, focus on the stuff you don’t know (yet). Not sure where to begin? Try taking a practice exam or answering a few sample questions and see how you score. Find the weakest areas and study up. Brushing up on your weak spots will have the biggest impact on your overall grades. Trust us! 4. Explain your answers to others Being able to explain something to someone else is the gold-standard test for true understanding. If you’re looking to get the most out of your last-minute study, this is one of the best exercises to do. GIF: https://giphy.com/gifs/teacher-writers-13tLbNypHGL4Zy Find a friend or family member and try to explain your notes, mind maps or revision flashcards to them. Explaining your answers aloud to others will help you identify weak areas and spot any gaps in your knowledge. 5. (Try to be) healthy Staying healthy is one of the best things you can do when studying last minute. We recommend drinking water, eating nutritious and exercising. If you’re like us, then just the thought of last-minute study can have you reaching for another cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull. But don’t! Energy drinks can give you a short-term boost but often leave you feeling tired and irritable on the long-term. The best advice is boring, but it works – drink some water! It will keep you hydrated and helps you concentrate. And if you really need a caffeine fix, make sure to use a cool mug, like this one for example… FOTO: Tas We also know time is of the essence but try to go easy on your local Deliveroo or Uber Eats bikers. Eat healthy and try to exercise during your breaks. But don’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate. Exams are coming, remember? Plan, plan, plan. Most people sleep easier knowing that their bags are packed for the following day. Make sure your pens, pencils and other supplies are in good working order so you can go to bed with a clear mind. Packing your bag the night before and planning your exam day can have a great effect on your performance. You’ll sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever’s in front of you. GIF: https://giphy.com/gifs/filmeditor-home-alone-christmas-movies-xUySTOigOUHucl3rfW Take a break Sleep has an important effect on exam performance. Researchers from UGent & KU Leuven actually found a link between getting a good night’s sleep and achieving higher test scores. Students who get a full night’s sleep outperform their sleepier peers. This shows the dangers of pulling an all-nighter before your exams. Instead, focus on getting proper rest and having at least eight hours sleep on the night before your exam. Best of luck! (But what’s next?) If you’re wondering how to study last minute, these tips will help you excel. From planning your time effectively to minimizing distractions and getting enough rest, you’ll be well-prepared to give any exam your best shot! And if you do manage to survive this month. Why not look ahead at your next challenge? Maybe we can help you on that end. Have a look at our website and check out what we might have in store for you. We’re always on the lookout for talented interns and graduates so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

We also know time is of the essence but try to go easy on your local Deliveroo or Uber Eats cyclists. Eat healthy and try to exercise during your breaks. But don’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate. Exams are coming, remember?

#6 Plan, plan, plan

Most people sleep easier knowing that their bags are packed for the following day. Make sure your pens, pencils and other supplies are in good working order so you can go to bed with a clear mind. Packing your bag the night before and planning your exam day can have a great effect on your performance. You’ll sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever’s in front of you.

 

#7 Take a break

Sleep has an important effect on exam performance. Researchers from UGent & KU Leuven actually found a link between getting a good night’s sleep and achieving higher test scores. Students who get a full night’s sleep outperform their sleepier peers. This shows the dangers of pulling an all-nighter before your exams. Instead, focus on getting proper rest and having at least eight hours sleep on the night before your exam.

Best of luck! (But what’s next?)

If you’re wondering how to study last minute, these tips will help you excel. From planning your time effectively to minimizing distractions and getting enough rest, you’ll be well-prepared to give any exam your best shot!

And if you do manage to survive this month. Why not look ahead at your next challenge? Maybe we can help you on that end. Have a look at our website and check out what we might have in store for you. We’re always on the lookout for talented interns and graduates so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

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