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How To Study Effectively For Exams In A Short Time – 12 Tips That Works

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How do you feel when exams are so near and you’ve barely read anything? It could be one month, one week, or one day left to your exam. Your workload is just piled up, staring at you.

Tensed, right? I know that feeling, well, this article will show you how to study effectively for exams in a short time and get your desired results.

That can be the case sometimes whether for genuine or ingenuine reasons. You are good to go if you have attended lessons and copied your notes.

What You Need To Know About Studying For Exams In A Short Time

We understand that you want to know how to study for an exam effectively in a short time. That can get you scouting everywhere for answers because you have limited time to cover a term or semester’s workload.

One characteristic feeling you are bound to have during that period is panic. The overwhelming thought that exams are around the call and you have barely covered up or set to deliver makes you panic.

However, you must know that you can’t get your brain to be productive when panicking! And this is why you must be calm despite knowing you have limited time to cover so much. Relax, we’ve got you covered.

What Makes Exam Studying Effective?

Before diving into how to study effectively for exams in a short time, let’s see what makes studying effective. Applying the right strategies and approach to studying is what makes studying effective.

Some people spend so much time preparing for their exams but use the wrong approach. Hence, they won’t get the desired results. One quick rule to measure the effectiveness of your study is to evaluate it using the study cycle developed by Frank Christ.

This cycle classifies studying into different parts: previewing, attending class, reviewing, studying, and checking your understanding.

Also, you must note that what you do with your time is what makes it effective and not necessarily the duration spent.

How To Study Effectively For Exams In A Short Time



Now, to the crux of the matter, how to study effectively for exams in a short time. Having laid the foundation of what to expect in last-minute preparation for an exam and what makes studying effective. Let’s get started.

1. Create A Study Plan To Work With

Let’s be realistic. You don’t have much time on your hands, so you should have a solid plan on how to study effectively and ace your game. Studying effectively within a short time requires a strategic plan that will aid you in covering all you have to in the shortest time.

This plan will contain the topics you have to study, the resources you will use, and how you will segment your studying. This point right here is what will guide you on how to manage the time you have effectively.

Without having a plan, you are determined to follow. You are bound to start panicking at the magnitude of the work ahead of you.

2. Choose The Right Study Arena

Where you do the studying matters if you must study effectively in a short time. In all honesty, you have much work to get done, so do it where you are most productive. And that is under your control.

At this point, you ought to know what works for you. Which kind of environment do you study best without distraction?

For some people, the library is the perfect study arena, while others would prefer studying among people where there is some background noise. Be honest with yourself and get started.

3. Do Away With Distractions

You are asking how to study effectively for exams in a short time because you need solutions for your piled-up academic workload. Then shut out distractions! You need maximum concentration.

For some, it could be their phones, tablet, or social media. While others it could be studying with their friends. If you know having internet access will be distracting, put off your phone from your study area. The aim is to ensure that you achieve more with little time.

4. Note Down A List Of Important Terms/Concepts/Ideas

You have limited time, so you can’t possibly study everything. The strategy here is to focus on important concepts, ideas, and terms in your coursework.

To determine this, you have to take note of the area the teacher or lecturer placed so much emphasis on or explicitly mentioned that it will be on the exam. Another tip is the emphasis in the textbook or lectures.

Also, the highlighted, bolded, or underlined texts in your textbooks are a clue to areas to pay attention to.

5. Condense Your Notes


Trying to devour the whole material at once might be cumbersome. The strategy here is to streamline each topic to a page of notes. That is like summarizing the whole topic into short notes.

Don’t bother writing paragraph by paragraph. Just focus on the key concepts, ideas, and important terms. That is where they come in.

Ensure to include them in the summary you write. Note that this will form a major part of what you use for your revision.

6. Search For Summaries In Textbooks Or Online

Some textbooks contain summaries of each unit to aid students understand the topic or concepts covered.

If yours contain such, it is a valuable resource to run to as it will contain almost everything you need to know about the unit concisely. You could check Khan Academy for a concise explanation of topics and concepts.

7. Make More Notes As You Read

You may wonder why you need to make notes as you continue studying since you already have your condensed notes.

Here is why you need this, to enable you to note down things you want to commit to memory. It has proven that we tend to remember things we write down.

That doesn’t have to be as neatly written as in number 6. The whole idea here is to help you remember some key facts you come across.

8.     Utilize Mind Maps, Charts, And Graphs

The mind map is one effective strategy to use if you want to know how to study effectively in a short time. The effectiveness of this approach is helping your brain see the connections between different concepts or topics covered in the whole course work and linking previous knowledge to old ones.

That is achieved using visual designs and diagrams. That is one of the proven active learning techniques that helps the brain retrieve information.

Here is a guide by Moinul Kanim Labib for making an ideal mind map for studying:

  • Make it visually attractive using different colors
  • Use as many diagrams as possible.
  • Don’t use a complete sentence in any of the branches.
  • Don’t use more than 2-4 words for labeling a branch/sub-branch.
  • Only write the key points.

9. Memorize Some Important Names And Dates

This is especially necessary if you are studying a course or subjects like history that has dates and names. You need to get familiar with the names and dates associated with the topics.

So as not to leave any stone unturned, memorize them. It might be helpful writing them on a separate note.

10. Use Past Papers And Questions

Past questions of the course you are studying should guide how to study effectively for exams in a short time.

The past questions determine how the lecturer or instructor patterns his questions. In doing this, don’t just study a year’s questions.

Spread your hands across one to five years past questions so you can properly study and understand the instructor’s question patterns. Also, there is every likelihood that the lecturer will repeat questions.

11. Review Your List Of Important Terms/Ideas/Concepts

Now, do you remember the list you formed earlier while studying? That is where it comes in. It serves as a form of revision; instead of going over your whole note, your list of important ideas, terms, and concepts will make your revision faster. Considering you might have little time.

At this point, evaluate yourself on which terms you can remember correctly and which you can’t. That will help you know your confidence level in each term noted.

12. Take Practice Tests


A good way to know how to study effectively for exams in a short time is to attempt practice tests. That helps you evaluate your brain and can be a confidence booster.

Tasking your brain to remember all you have studied is a good way to increase knowledge retention and information retrieval.

Last Words

If you have read through to this point, you already have your answers on how to study effectively for exams in a short time. However, you must give yourself adequate time to rest and sleep.

Yes, your brain needs to be relaxed to produce all the information you’ve pumped in. Also, prepare every material you will need for the exam day the night before.

You don’t want to panic because you can’t find your identity card or calculator. It would help if you had the greatest calm you can get in your mind.


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