Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who’s left studying to the last minute. Even your incredibly organised friend, who claims to have started a month ago, probably started studying last week. Leaving things to the last minute is just what students do.

Now that you’ve stopped guilt-tripping yourself, follow these tips to get out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself. Your smarts have got you this far in life, and using those smarts to study effectively will get you through your exams.


1. Realise highlighters aren’t magic wands

Stop highlighting your textbooks until they look like the Pride flag. Highlighters are not magical objects that instantly upload information to your brain – they are neon pens. If you’re close to exam time and freaking out, drop the highlighter in favour of re-writing key points from your textbooks on a separate page. This way, the information will actually sink in, which is what you want.


2. Stop re-reading

Re-reading doesn’t do much to help you remember things, sadly. If you’re wondering why all your friends insist it’s the best way to study, this could be because it’s easier than actually studying. What should you be doing instead, you ask? If you have a maths exam coming up, do problems. If you’re studying for a history mock, write out bullet points for each time period, or explain what went down to your dog – who won’t care if you get things wrong. Don’t waste your time with fake studying.


3. Actually do mock exams and problems

Don’t wait until the exam to do your first problem or essay. You’re in school to learn how to think and do (as well as to learn how to be an alright member of society). Exams are, sadly, an important part of school, and they take practice.


4. Figure out the big problems

If you’re studying the night before, chances are you’re not going to remember everything you absolutely need to, and that’s okay. Instead, spend as much time as you can focusing on the most important concepts from the class, that you’ll definitely need to know for the exam.


5. Sleep!

Get a good night’s sleep before heading into the exam room. Your brain won’t work as well if you’re tired, which is why it’s better to admit defeat the night before and get a good sleep rather than soldier on and cram in information you’ll probably forget when push comes to shove.