The syllabus was shoved into the back of your notebook. You haven’t had a chance to glance at your calendar. You fell asleep on the couch in the lounge. Last night went on longer than you ever expected – no matter what your excuse, you’re only hours away from your mid-term or final exam and you haven’t begun to study. What to do?
Things to remember:
1. You need fuel.
Tonight will be a long night. Take the time before you begin to grab food and drink to last you the night. Drink plenty of water and eat good stuff – forget the junk. Grab a few sandwiches and some fruit to keep your body going – you’ll need all the energy you can get, and caffeinated crap will just give you the shakes – it won’t help you to retain actual information.
2. You need warmth.
Grab a blanket or sleeping bag and snuggle up in your chair in front of your desk or a table in the study lounge. Keep your body as happy as possible and it will keep working for you.
3. You need your materials.
Gather all of your materials at once. Notebooks, books, pencils, pens, tape recorder, etc. Have everything you could possibly need at the ready.
4. Twenty minutes on, five minutes off.
In order to retain information, your brain needs rest periods between cramming. Set a timer for yourself and study for twenty minutes at a clip, then give your brain five minutes to let it all soak in. During these five minutes, eat something, take a drink, use the bathroom, etc. You’ll come back to the table refreshed and ready for another productive twenty minute session.
5. Be sure to get at least one full sleep cycle.
A sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes. Allowing your body to sleep for this time period will be worth it, even if you have to stop studying before you feel your are finished cramming all of the information. This sleep cycle will allow information to be processed and allow you to be somewhat refreshed before the test. Not sleeping at all will leave you restless, groggy, and unable to recover the information from the night before. Save yourself the frustrated, and get yourself some sleep time. If necessary forget the shower and clothing change and head to class in your PJs. You won’t care what you looked like when you receive your hard earned “A”.