7 Ways to Get the Grades (Without Doing All the Work!)

November is what I like to call “the calm before the storm”. With midterms out of the way and final exams still weeks away, students have given themselves the month to catch up on their sleep, social lives, and Netflix. That’s the “calm” part. The “storm” part is those dreaded final exams coming up in less than two weeks. If you are one of those unfortunate souls who put off hundreds of pages per class worth of readings this month, don’t panic! There’s a way to get the grades without actually putting in all the work!

Accept defeat

There are not enough hours left in 2014 to catch up on all your readings for your classes. Accept it, but do not panic! Just because you don’t have time to do the readings yourself doesn’t mean you can’t get the information from them.

Split up the work

If you are in a course where readings are required to do well, you are not the only one that has put them off for as long as possible. Find (or make) a few friends and divide the workload. That way, everyone can get the notes without doing all the reading themselves.

Mock exams

Have you ever walked into an exam not knowing if you were even remotely prepared for it? How about walking out of an exam feeling like you got completely blindsided? Mock exams are a great way to get an idea of what kind of questions you could be asked and show where you’re at in terms of preparedness. They can also be a good representation of what topics will be primarily focused on the exam, so you know what to give extra attention to. 

SOS sessions

If you are not familiar to Students Offering Support (SOS), they are a great organization that originated here at Laurier and runs tutoring sessions for multiple classes offered on campus. Tutors will go over all of the exam material and send you their PowerPoint slides and a mock exam after the session. Ideally, these tutoring sessions will benefit you most if you are already familiar with most of the material, but they are also a great way to get an idea of the major themes in your readings.


Skipping lectures may have gotten you in this situation, but OneClass will get you out of it! OneClass is a subscription-based website where students can post and download lecture notes, study guides, exam study notes, readings, and more! For a small monthly fee, you can get all the notes you missed for nearly every class.

Join a study group

Study groups promote conversation, which is a great way to understand concepts and thought processes when memorization is not enough. Also, you are more likely to perform better on an exam when you understand the concepts rather than memorizing content.

Study using midterms from prior years

Many professors create their exams using a test bank consisting of questions varying in difficulty. Reviewing midterms and other examinations from previous years many give you a little preview of some questions that could end up on your exam.

One of the biggest lies you can tell yourself this semester is that procrastinating won’t catch up with you, but procrastination doesn’t necessarily correlate with poor grades. Studying correctly and efficiently makes all the difference, so work hard and try not to get swept up in the storm!