No BS last-minute revision tips

Freddie Parker on 21 March 2023
Person studying at their desk

So you’ve left it all to the last minute. What do you do now?

The spring term is rapidly approaching its end, deadlines and exams loom overhead. There’s a good chance you’ve left your revision or assignments to the last minute, and now you’re wondering how to cram it all into only a few weeks. Or days for some of you…

Lots of study tips and revision guides you’ll find online will have mindset-based advice. While this is great advice to internalise, it often fails to address the practical side. It also won’t help you in more short-term situations where you need to cram. Which last-minute revision techniques will help you actually remember? 

How to do last-minute revision effectively

Best ways to study last-minute facts and figures

Look, say, cover, write, check

You may remember this one from your early school days. Great for memorising definitions and dates. Write something down, and say it out loud. Then cover it and see if you can remember it well enough to write it down again.

Do this with notes you’ve made either in previous study sessions using sticky notes. Can you write the definition back on top of the post-it you just stuck over some old notes? Cover any important dates, facts and figures and see how well you remember them. Each time you repeat this, the memories will get stronger.

Get your phone to tell you

If you’re gonna have a device tracking your location and whims on you at all times, why not get it to do some of the work for you? Ask it to remind you of a fact or quote and set it to times you won’t be in class or at work. Not only will your phone pop up with a little notification telling you what to remember, but speaking the information aloud will help you lock it into your long-term memory.

Best ways to study concepts and ideas last-minute

Explain it to a friend

If you can explain an idea or concept to someone and they understand, then you know for sure that you understand it. Yes, this would work with coursemates. They could ask you to elaborate on certain ideas and will be familiar enough with the syllabus they’ll know just what to ask you.

However, this technique is at its best when used with someone unfamiliar with your subject. Housemates or family members are good choices. These people will truly test your knowledge by pointing out parts of your explanation that don’t make sense. 

Scream into the online void

Joining online discussions about your subject can be a great way to clear up any misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Forums like Reddit and Quora have 24/7 access to experts in a variety of topics. 

Remember to take any advice given in a forum with a pinch of salt and always fact-check.

Another approach could be posting your musings about your subject in a blog. There’s no need for it to go viral, but it’s a good last-minute activity for testing your knowledge. How much can you write about the subject from memory?

Ask yourself questions

This can be done on the move. Whenever you’d think about doom-scrolling your way through the commute to uni or a journey home, interrogate yourself instead. Think of a random question about the topic of your upcoming exam and then think, say or write a response to that question. If you struggle to think of questions, pull from past papers or the syllabus.

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Freddie Parker
Freddie Parker on 21 March 2023