How to Cram For a Final Exam

We are all aware of the right way to prepare for a final. It begins on the first day of class, and involves always staying ahead: readings done before lectures, notes prepared in advance, and a study schedule established and adhered to from day one.

We also all know that staying ahead of the game is impossible for virtually every student. As it comes down to finals week, everyone on campus faces an unwanted necessity: hustling to make the grade. While cramming is never the best strategy, it is reality that every college student needs to know how to face.

Prior to cracking your textbooks, review these tips compiled by the staff at Unemployed Professors, which offer you the best chance of optimizing your cram session.  

  • Know What To Study: The exam likely won’t demand you draw equally from everything you’ve learned. For example, it’s probable the final will focus on post-mid-term material. If your prof holds a review session, be sure to attend it. If he or she does not mention the focus of the final, be sure to ask about it.  Review lecture notes and skew your cramming toward the emphases made in class.
  • Jot Down The Important Stuff: As you work through readings and lecture notes, quickly jot down the important concepts, definitions, or equations. Try keeping these on separate flash cards, which you can refer to later. If you’re an auditory learner, repeat what you’ve written down in speech.
  • Keep Track Of Time: Note how much time in total you have to cram, and be aware of your progress. Try to expend your efforts so that you will get through everything, and have at least a couple hours to review it all.
  • Test Yourself At Intervals: At intervals, perhaps hourly, test yourself quickly on what you’ve done, using the flashcards. Begin dividing the flashcards into piles: what you know and what you haven’t yet committed to memory or understanding. On successive run-throughs, only review the latter pile.
  • If Possible, Divide Cramming with Sleep or a Nap: Though it might not always be possible to sleep, try doing the bulk of your cramming prior to sleep; and then, when you wake, conduct a final review. If you can’t sleep at all due to time constraints, plan to finish at least an hour prior to the exam. Clear your head get some fresh air.  
  • Eat A Healthy Meal An Hour Prior To The Exam: And eat a healthy meal, making sure that it is not carbohydrate-heavy, since this will spike and crash your blood sugar, causing drowsiness. You may also wish to include brain superfoods, such as salmon, blueberries, avocado, green tea, and dark chocolate.

The perfect study and exam prep methods are ideals. We may shoot for them, but we must also remember that university life is hectic. For most students, it is impossible to stay ahead. Over the course of the semester, most of us fall behind, which invariably demands cramming at finals. By following the tips laid out here, you can maximize your chance of success in last-minute preparation.

With that in mind, ask the team of academic professionals at any questions you may have regarding their college writing services and they will be more than happy to guide you along the arduous path!