I hate to admit it, but i used to be one of those students who didn't start studying for a test until the night before. Yup, that's how much of a huge procrastinator i once was - not that i don't procrastinate anymore, I'm just doing it less now. As of now, i am proud to announce that i have gotten rid of that habit, and i actually study days, if not weeks in advance. Doing this has allowed me to have plenty of time to prepare for my exams in other ways that have less to do with studying.
That's right, studying is not the only thing that needs to be done in anticipation of an exam. There are other important steps you need to take the night before your exam in order to be completely ready the following day. Here's a list of do's and don'ts to help you be a little more prepared for your next test.
Do review lightly. At this point, the hard core study session ship has sailed and there isn't much you can do about it. Whatever you try to cram right now will most likely not help you because your brain needs enough time to store information in your long term memory, and the night before isn't enough time. Instead, the information you are cramming will remain in your short term memory where it is way easier to forget.
This is just like learning names or phone numbers. When I first got my phone number, I had to constantly go in my contacts to look at the number every time I needed to give it to someone. But now I don't even bat an eye when asked for my number because it is stored in my long term memory. Basically, you shouldn't be learning anything that you don't already know the night before an exam. What you should be doing is reviewing your note cards or doing a few practice problems - nothing major.
Don't get stuck on social media. Have you noticed how incredibly easy it is to accidentally spend hours scrolling down on social media? Maybe your intent was just to be on twitter for a few minutes before bed but before you know it, it's 2 AM and you're still scrolling!
Do eat a healthy, balanced dinner. This is definitely not the time to indulge in junk food. Greasy burgers, donuts, pizza, and the likes are out of the question. Believe it or not, studies have shown that there's a strong correlation between what you consume and how it affects your physical and mental performance. These foods will actually help boost your brain power and help you study better.
Do get a good night sleep. This is almost funny to write because most college students don't know what a good night sleep feels like. As college students, we are supposed to get more than 8 hours of sleep everyday yet very few of us actually meet these hours. Not only does a good night sleep improve your memory, it also enhances your focus. It might seem like a good idea to stay up until 2 am to study but this is actually counterproductive because you will need the energy you're burning away to concentrate and stay alert during your test. You're better off calling it a night and saving your energy for the exam.
Do prepare everything you'll need the day of the test. It's the little details we often overlook that ends up stressing us out before the exam, so why not ovoid the hassle? People always seem to forget that they will need a writing utensil during the test. Don't be THAT student. If it's usually cold in your class, make sure grab a jacket. Pack a nutrition bar, a bottle of water, etc. Make sure you have everything you will need already in your backpack so you don't forget anything. There's nothing worse than arriving to class and realizing that you forgot your calculator on your table at home - the horror!
Don't pull an all-nighter. First of all, your brain stops working a 100% at night because it uses so much energy during the day and it only makes sense that it needs to rest at night. The longer you stay awake the less efficient your brain works, which means that it will not fully register whatever you're studying. The best thing to do is study during the day, then get a good night sleep so your brain gets the chance to process all the info you studied and store it in your long term memory so you'll remember it for the test.
Do try to relax a bit. You've probably been studying for a while now, but it's time to relax a little and get your mind at ease. You could maybe listen to music, watch a YouTube video, or whatever wouldn't stress you out. This can be a reward for yourself for all the studying you've been doing. I especially need to do this because I sometimes feel as though I haven't studied enough which gets me panicking about failing the test. I usually watch a video from one of my favorite YouTubers to help me relax.
Don't forget your alarm. Okay this may sound a bit silly but some people (i.e. me) have woken up late the day of their exam and had to get ready and rush out of the door in 3.5 seconds. If you've ever had to pull this off, you know it's very stressful and it's definitely not the way to start a test. I usually have about three alarms to wake me up in the morning. I'll get mad at the first one because I have to cut my sleep short, the second one will totally be annoying and then I'll finally give in and get up by the third alarm. Now you might think this is a lot, but it's my system and it works for me. Find what works for you!