If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
I first learned this quote during a scouts camp during my secondary school years. "Be Prepared" was one of the inspiring mottoes in scouting. So, planning ahead to meet future goals was top priority too. And it is no different from planning to get your A's or passing your exam.
We had other plans.
But what if things didn't go as planned? Well, here's the final plan..
It's times like these that students (like me..sometimes) think "If only I studied beforehand."
But it's not time for that. We've got an exam coming in a week or three to two days and we gotta act fast! Unless you don't care about it..but we do here so let's get started.
The Final Review
There are a few ways to know what you should study at this hour. Face it, you don't have that much time. Chances are you might not get to revise every single thing (especially if you've been neglecting the subject from the start). So, one way is to do the past year questions (if any) and probably "spot questions" or the sort (but I generally don't trust them). They've personally helped me a lot in many circumstances. However, that ONLY might not be enough unless stated otherwise. At times, the dept or lecturer realizes this fact that students do rely a lot on past year questions and so they change it. To counter that possibility, go to the exam review. In an exam review, most likely you'll get snippets of possible questions and topics. That should come in handy. At least if you can't answer all questions, you'll be able to answer some. Another option is to see your lecturer personally and ask him/her something more detailed than "please tell me everything". You might get some hints in the process. The last resort? Ask the best person you know (you should have made some friends) for help.
The Final Stand
If you actually have a week to face the exam, I'd say you still have plenty of time for an A unless you know nothing at all. My greatest tip here is to study as if you're having the exam the next day. Through my own observation, many students gobble up more than half of their study materials the day before the exam. Why don't you do just that in a few days? Perhaps you might actually finish studying everything. Kudos to you!
On the other hand, if you have just well about one to two days, then the following might be useful.
1. Considering that you only have this one exam left or the other exams are far apart or less difficult, then you can try not sleeping at all for one night to gobble up everything you can. The adrenaline rush (or coffee) should be sufficient to keep you going. Just make sure you collapse on your bed after the exam. Note: No drugs please!
2. Go for a study group with your friends. It might seem distracting or not enough to study with friends at this time but it should help to calm you down (that's what friends are for) and help you know things you never knew. If you have someone who knows a lot, he/she can be the leader. But if everyone is at the same level, you can find things out together. Together, we can achieve more.
3. If you have a friend who has finished studying, this is the time to bug him/her..make sure you thank him enough!
4. If you had notes and slides from the first class or lecture, review them all.
5. Have a textbook? Usually textbooks have questions for every chapter. Do a few or all of them for each chapter (and select ones if you know which ones are coming out).
6. If you don't have the basics, pick them up as soon as possible and get going with the advanced ones. Don't just storm through the advanced questions (this applies a lot to physics and math) as it may take longer for you to understand and remember. That's wasting time. And time is not on your side so stick to the plan.
At one point, you may consider this to be one of the worst times. But it's no reason to use that window over there or drugs of any sort. A good friend of mine always said, "Once you enter the exam hall/room, tell yourself, I'm ready. And do your best."
Yes, you got it. This should never happen again and you should never have to use this plan again (but trust me..many people do).
The last stand depends on where you stand. If you're far back, then to get that A is hard so the next thing is not to fail. Remember, basics first, friends help, past year questions, reviews and good luck!
Any form of effort you took from here (especially pushing yourself through the night) is entirely on your own risk. You know better whether you can handle it or not. Health comes first.
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