4 Study Tips for Students Who Left Studying to the Last Minute

Whether you’ve fallen behind because you’re a master procrastinator or missed a lot of classes, not all is lost. In university and college, cramming is unhealthy and unsustainable.

However, if last-minute studying is your last resort right now, you can still use whatever time you have left to your advantage and learn better time management next time.

Here are 4 tips and tools you can use to make the most out of studying last minute:

1. Focus only on topics you’re struggling or unfamiliar with

When studying last minute, you may not have time to review all your class materials and study notes. Focus on what you don’t know yet.

To identify what you don’t know, take a practice test. It may not be fun to realize how much you have to study for, but this preliminary assessment will let you clearly see where you need to spend time studying.

After you’re finished, review all the questions you got wrong and see if there are any trends. Maybe they are all from the same chapter or involve the same concept.

If you’re using MyLab or Mastering in your course, use Dynamic Study Modules to save time. It will not only learn what topics you’re struggling with but also adapt its questions to give you get extra practice on topics you’re not familiar with.

If you have a lot you don’t know, prioritize. Focus on the biggest concepts, facts, or equations that apply across most topics. Spend more time on topics your professor really emphasized and elaborated on. Mastering smaller details is less important than core concepts.

2. Get instant feedback on your work

During a time crunch, you can’t afford to wait for a professor to reply your email, to go to office hours, or for a friend to reply your messages.

Use study tools that give you instant feedback and step-by-step guidance on your practice questions. Note that they should give you feedback and guidance, not the answers. Getting the answers won’t help you learn.

If you’re in Calculus, Aida is a great study tool for this. You can take a picture of your math and Aida will identify any incorrect steps using artificial intelligence. The app will then give you personalized feedback and video tutorials to guide you through the solution.

3. Use pre-made study materials

You barely have time to study, much less make study materials.

Find pre-made study guides and flashcards. Make sure they’re created by a trusted source to ensure you’re studying accurate information that is relevant to your course.

Apps like Pearson Prep have pre-made expert decks (30-50 cards) made by instructors and authors of your textbooks for only $1.39.

With these expert decks, you can be confident that you’re studying what you actually need to know. Even if you aren’t using its specific textbook, you will still need to study similar, if not identical, concepts and terms in these decks.

4. Remind yourself of your “why”

This late into the semester, motivation wanes and you may feel like giving up. Reminding yourself of your goals, dreams, and why you’re in school can help you look forward to the future and see what you’re working hard for.

Here are what students say is their “why”.

We asked students to share what they tell themselves when they feel stressed or that they’re not doing well. Maybe you can take heed of these encouragements for yourself during this last stretch of the semester.

Believe in yourself and study hard. Make the most out of all the study tools and resources your instructor has given you. For example, you may be only using MyLab and Mastering for assignments, but they actually have a ton of study tools you can use anytime.

Most importantly, remember to sleep and take breaks; they can be more productive that you may think. Good luck!