5 Last Minute Ways to Ace Your Finals If You Procrastinated

We’ve all been there. We know, you told yourself you weren’t going to procrastinate, but somehow it’s still the day before the final and you don’t know a thing. Everyone procrastinates a little bit, but don’t worry, there’s still a chance. Ever wondered how those who panic before the exam and say they barely studied still seem to ace it? If you want to get in on their top secret ways to get an A even with procrastination, here’s some tips to follow.

1. Put your phone away

Now we’ve all heard this one before. It’s definitely not as easy as it sounds, but it will make a world of a difference. Our phones are such an easy distraction with all the social media apps there are today. It’s almost like we instinctively pick up our phones to check for any possible notification, and even if it seems like it’ll only take a second, those seconds will add up before you know it. One of the best things to do is to turn it completely off and keep it far away. No matter how addicted we are to our phones, we are all still very lazy college students at heart. Even the most active students probably won’t get up out of their comfy study spot to “check the time” on their phones.

Jacob Hilbig, a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, says that he has a different technique to keep himself from checking his phone. “I usually tell the people I usually text that I’m cramming for a test,” he says. “That way, they know that I won’t be responding and they won’t text me or ask me to hang out.” You can also switch your phone to 'Do Not Disturb' so you don't get notifications from your usual apps. Can’t check your phone if it isn’t even buzzing, right? 

2. Focus only on the topics you will need to know for the test

One of the biggest things that students do wrong when cramming for a test is that they try to learn everything. There’s absolutely no way in the world a person could learn an entire year or even semester’s worth of knowledge in a single day. However, there’s also no way that every topic will be covered in a single exam. Focus on the things that your professor went over multiple times; they’re most likely to be on the exam. We know that sometimes it’s hard to understand the big picture without the small things in between, but it’s crunch time and we need to be as efficient as possible.

Melany Gutierrez, a senior at Allen High School, says that she likes to go through her notes and highlight the topics she thinks are important. “It’s pretty easy to tell the main ideas from the insignificant ones,” she says. “Most of the time, I’ll pick and choose topics the teacher has mentioned a lot and make sure I thoroughly understand those.” Remember, it’s crunch time; right now, it’s all about getting the grade.

3. Look up study guides/quizlets online

We live in a tech-savvy world. Everything is on the internet now, so take advantage of it. There are hundreds and thousands of people that have taken the exact same courses as you. Most likely, there are more than a few people who decided not to procrastinate and make very detailed study guides or even flash cards to study for final exams… and decided to be nice enough to share them. These study guides can help you get a good sense of which topics you should focus on.

Ameeti Kalra, a junior at Texas A&M University, claims that these were her absolute savior. “I was shocked to see how many different study guides and resources there were online,” she states. “I wish I knew who made these so I could thank them in person. They saved my grades.” Wow, now that’s some commitment. Good to know there are some helpful folks still out there!

4. Don’t study in groups

You many think you’re getting a lot done, but odds are, you’re probably not. It may work for a select few people, but for the most part, studying in groups mostly just ends up taking up a lot of unnecessary time. If you’re a procrastinator, this will definitely not make the most of your cramming time. When studying in groups, you may have to spend time focusing on topics you already know for the sake of another group member. If there is a time to be selfish, this is it. Even if you’re all studying for the same thing, it’s hard to concentrate on studying when there are so many other things to talk about. However, it’s always good to ask questions on things you may not understand, but make sure that’s all the talking you do.

Brian Seton, a junior at the University of Maryland says that sometimes he enjoys studying with people… alone. “I think it’s a good idea to have people that are in your class next to you, while you still try to study on your own,” he says. “That way, when you have a question they’re right there to explain, but I always make sure to put my headphones back in and focus alone right after they answer my question.” This is a good way to be efficient in studying. Don’t forget to make the most of your time. There’s always time to gossip later!

5. Get a good night’s rest

Now, this is one that’s often misunderstood. Let’s just say that from personal experience, staying up all night does not help. There comes a point when your brain no longer has the ability to retain information anymore. There’s absolutely no point in staying up all night trying to cram all this information into your brain because it’ll go straight out the other ear. Take it from a college student that has done both.

Hoan Le, a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas, says that she still sleeps around midnight even if she feels she doesn't know enough. “I’ve realized that by staying up all night, I just become way too tired in the morning,” she says. “When it comes time to take the exam, my mind is moving way too fast and I can’t seem to focus on the questions.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. No amount of coffee can keep you up forever.

Related Article: 5 Ways to Deal With Your First Bad Grade In College

When taking an exam, it’s important to remember that at one point, you knew this information. It’s all about focusing during the exam and using the knowledge you already know to choose the best answer. We know, exams are hard and there are tricky questions, but you can still get an A if you take the test to the best of your ability. Don’t let the tricks get to you just because you’re panicked or worn out. Take your time and remember that you know this.