4 Tips to Cram Before You Start Screaming

Uh, oh. Test day snuck up on you. The first thing that you need to do is to take a deep breath. If you have a day or two to prepare, you have a shot at getting close to the score that you would have gotten had you started a week ago. Here are a couple steps that you can take in order to make the best use of your time:

  1. Get the test. That doesn't mean that you get the actual test that you will be taking, but one that is relatively close to it. If you have the time, you can e-mail your instructor asked if there are any examples from previous years but you can look at. If you either don't have the time, or they refuse to offer to you, you aren't out of luck. The number of professors will likely offer similar tests and post them for their students online. Try doing a search and see what you can come up with.
  2. With this in hand, start looking for questions that you have difficulties inserting. See whether or not you can group these questions into similar topic areas. If you're not able to get your hands on a test, do the same thing with your syllabus and find your areas of weaknesses. This limits the amount but studying but you will have to do, so you can make the best use of your time.
  3. It may seem odd, but if you can try to avoid using your textbook to brush up on these concepts. The reason is that most textbooks offer a very comprehensive view of topics. Your goal is to become an expert in a day or two, not to pass the test. Instead, look for brief guides (not mentioning names), or online video summaries. Try and use questions from the practice test with new numbers or facts to make sure you've got the concepts down pat.
  4. Breathe, eat and sleep. Not sleeping for 24 hours leaves your mind the equivalent of a drunk driver with 0.10 BAC. Similarly forgetting to eat won't help. So get as much done as you can until you hit an hour or so after your bedtime. Make sure you get breakfast, and know that you have a great shot of doing better than you were before.

What are you waiting for? Let's get started.

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