Obviously it’s to your advantage to avoid cramming for a test – studies repeatedly show the negative outcome on learning and the stress to the body & mind. Planning ahead for studying, although difficult with all life’s distractions, works to your advantage over the long term. In the end, you want to feel prepared, know the material for the test, and be in the right mental state. Whether you’ve been studying for months, weeks or days (hopefully not hours), here are 10 things to do the night before a test.
1. Get Organized.
Start early in the day gathering the materials you need to study. If there’s a study guide, you’re missing class notes, or you need books, make sure you have them together.
2. Eat Properly.
Your brain is a muscle that needs food too. Not too much, not too little – eat healthy food in moderation during the day before your test.
3. Find a Quiet Place.
Plan ahead for a good study location. If you’re studying with a group, make sure you have sufficient space and everyone knows where to be and when (it’s distracting when people show up late or are disheveled upon arrival) If you’re studying alone, spec out your location (library, room, coffee shop) to make sure it’s available. For example, you don’t want to step into “open mic night” at the coffee shop or your college roommate having friends over.
4. Remove Distractions.
Easily the most important thing is to remove distractions when you study. Tell your family & friends you have an important test, turn off your phone, and avoid social media & email. Wear headphones if you’re in a noisy place (calming music, please!).
5. Focus on “Test Questions”.
Captain Obvious: make sure you have a list of anything your teacher said would be a test question. Start your review by highlighting the key points of the test. With our note-taking apps, you can mark test questions with a flag – which makes the review easier. If it’s supposed to be material you know, know it!
6. Rewrite Key Points.
Rewriting information helps imprint it on your brain, more so than just reading it. Work through problems that have been troublesome. Your mind builds these pathways, even the night before.
7. Study in Blocks of Time.
We’re big fans of the Pomodoro Technique and it applies to studying too. If you focus hard for fixed periods of time, then take a break, you’ll learn and remember better. Study a subject for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break to stretch, drink some water, or go to the bathroom. A series of short sprints will help you focus more than one long one (your mind may drift on a long session).
8. Quiz With A Study Partner (or Group).
Once you’ve reviewed the material, it’s great to bounce questions off of a study partner or group. You’ll be able to help each other (inevitably one person understands something better than the other, and even teaching a topic helps solidify the knowledge in your own mind).
9. Get Enough Sleep.
All-nighters are detrimental. Period. Don’t drink coffee and stay up all night – you’ll regret it. Study, get plenty of rest the night before a test, and wake up early if you want to review a bit more.
10. Squash Negativity.
Confidence in your knowledge trumps fear. “I’ll never pass this test” is the wrong attitude. “I’ll do my best” FTW.
Remember: 10 Things To Do the Night Before A Test
Think ahead for your next exam. Create a study plan – review notes each day after class, for starters. Plan for working in a group if you like, but don’t wait for an all-nighter. Most importantly, follow our 10 things to do the night before your next test to feel ready, relieve exam stress and do your best.