We've all been there, desperately trying to find ways to study for an exam when we only have a week until the big day. Most of the time, I approach exams with the best of intentions. I give myself plenty of time to study, but ultimately I am left feeling as though I haven't done enough. When that one week point sneaks up on me, I am trying to find ways to study for an exam that will guarantee me good grades. I can't say I succeed all the time, but I do have last minute revision tips that can help.
1. Condense Notes
Hopefully, you have been taking notes during your classes. If you have, well done! One of the easiest ways to study for an exam is to condense what you have written before. Begin by reading the notes once or twice. Then pick out the most important parts, and write them down again. Writing and re-writing is a great way to achieve excellent grades.
2. Make Mind Maps
Sometimes you just need to connect those academic dots. Creating mind maps allows you to draw on all of your knowledge and extend it into the finer details. For example, if you want to study diabetes, write diabetes in the middle of the paper. Then extend a line off it, write type 2, and then more arms off that that cover type 2's symptoms, causes, etc. You get the picture, right?
3. Make Flash Cards
Okay, so there is a big writing theme here. I know lots of writing is the last thing you want to do when you have a week to go before an exam, but it will be worth it. Flash cards give you something to use on the day. During the 7 days before your exam, they give you the chance to condense important information further so you can use it later. Make them as simple as possible. They will help you with your next trick...
4. Lecture Yourself
Using your flashcards, give yourself a lecture. Pick up each one, look at the simple points, and expand in great detail. I find that doing this as I walk around a room is useful. I pretend I am addressing my peers, which forces me to get it right. After doing this, I go back and check to see how factually correct I was.
5. Check out New Ideas
I don't know how well this one will work for other subjects. However, as someone who is studying medical sciences, I find that looking up the latest research into a particular disease is handy. It forces me to draw on the knowledge I already have to consider the new theory. Give it a go, it may work for a lot of other topics.
6. Debate with a Friend
Again, I am not sure how well this one will work for all topics. To me, it is pretty essential. Even when you think you know everything, the chances are you do not. Get together with a friend, pick a topic, and debate it. For example, I cover medical ethics, so my friends and I may debate life support procedures. No matter how contentious or dull a topic seems, I guarantee you can learn something doing this!
7. Read, Read, Read
Finally, when all else fails, get reading. Read in your head, read aloud...read any way you like. It isn't THE best way to get information into your brain, but it doesn't hurt. If needs be, record yourself reading aloud and go for a run while listening to it. The more you read, the higher your chances are of forcing some information in there.
I sort of feel a bit of a thrill when I don't have long to go before an exam. It gives me a chance to dig out those hidden pieces of information I had missed before. Ideally, you should study more than a week before, but you can still do pretty well with just one week to go. What are your favorite study tips and how well do they work for you?