I have never been one to "chunk" my studying, or in other words, study a week or so before my test or exam to ensure I cover all of the material efficiently, and not stress myself out beyond belief. Even though I wait until the absolute last minute to study, meaning, the night before or even the day of, I still manage to get well over passing grades on my exams. So with finals coming up, I figured that I would share some of my procrastinator study tips to help the other procrastinators out there.
1. Take good notes in class
This is the first step to ensuring academic success in any class. Pay attention in class and take active notes. This doesn't mean jotting down absolutely everything your professor says, but if you're attentive in lecture and write down the very salient points, you'll absorb enough information to build around you basic notes, which also tests your knowledge. On the other hand, if you just sit in class on your phone for the whole hour of lecture, first, you're not getting your money's worth (college is expensive AF), and second, there's absolutely no way you can be successful because you're not absorbing what is being discussed.
After class, review your notes and try to use the information you've absorbed to build around your basic outline of notes. For example, in math classes, a lot of the times the teacher will e-mail the slideshow out to students. Print the slideshow out and take notes around what was on the slide, even looking at different sources if you just don't understand what was on the slideshow. Take advantage of the resources given to you.
2. Think about the material outside of class
As simple as it sounds, and as weird as it might sound, talk to yourself, friends, family, whoever about what you learned that day in school. I know someone is bound to ask you at some point what you learned that day and don't be afraid to tell them. I personally love hearing about what people have learned, because a lot of times I learn something new too. Also, if you're studying with a group of friends, reteach them the information that you are going to be tested on within the near future.
That doesn't mean getting up and lecturing them for an hour, but giving little tidbits of information to them here or there will help you deeply process whatever information that you need to know. For example, let's say I have a big exam coming up on the American Revolution. I'm studying with friends one day and I tell them a little bit about why exactly the revolution started. Here, I'm not only helping myself deeply process that information, but I'm also teaching my friends something new that they might not have learned before.
3. Test yourself
So, it's the night before the exam, and you've looked over your notes, retaught some of the information and are feeling pretty good. Now's the time to test what you know. A lot of times, at least for math classes, the university has practice exams online, with the answer key. Take advantage of that! I can't stress enough how much that has helped me improve in my math class this semester, just because the practice exams are eerily similar to the exams (aka they have the same questions a lot of the time). If the class you're studying for doesn't offer practice exams, make your own! Gather with a few people you know from your class, and have each person come out with several different questions, then compile them into a big practice exam that you can all do together.
Not only is that giving you questions based on the way other people think and have reviewed the information, but you're also having the opportunity to discuss information that you may not know with people who probably know the answer. This is my #1 tool to success in school, and it definitely won't hurt to give it a try on your next exam.
I can't stress this enough, your academic success starts in the classroom during the lecture. If you're not paying attention in class, then these study tips probably won't help you. You're also paying a crap load of money to go to college, so go to class and LEARN!