Having exams tomorrow? Read this.

Things can be so unpredictable. No one told you that TheWorstOfTumblr would come up with 10 new images every 5 seconds and that you had to scroll through 6 miles of Facebook feeds before coming across a video from Petronas or worse, a Thai advertisement and lose your eyes in the sea of tears. Was it your fault that you wasted your time thinking of the catchiest captions for the 100th selfie you posted? Absolutely. Now with cold horror creeping up your back to chill, you realize that exams are tomorrow and you haven’t got much time left. But a student’s gotta do what a student has GOT TO DO.

So without further ado, here are some tips for (nearly) every type of student!

1. You are super unprepared, you’ve never attended class nor touched a textbook.

  • go say a 5 minute prayer to calm your nerves from the sudden realization of doom.
  • If you’ve been hoarding lecture notes, iron those crumpled pieces of vegetable out and start from the objectives.
  • The objectives will go for stuff like identify the …./Understand the importance…. etc.
  • The way you study is also based on whether its an mcq or essay question. For mcq, just remember/highlight the key words (usually the words that you don’t understand or sound special for the chapter). If they ask for importance, look for adjectives (e.g. identify the importance of makeup: beautiful, fragrant, glittering etc.) If they ask for ways, look for verbs (Identify ways to get to school: walk, run, drive).
  • If your exam is in essay form you need to immediately write everything related to what I’ve mentioned above and memorize the definitions for your chapters. If they’re too many definitions, go for the first one introduced in the chapter (it’s usually the most important one, but this may not apply for every scenario)
  • squeeze in a pass year paper and do corrections for that one.
  • If you have no idea, no notes, no background knowledge of anything, copy as much answers of any available pass year papers and study from there. This can only apply if you have the luxury of answers for your papers.

2. If you’re moderately concerned with your studies, you may be the type of student who would easily pass with the base knowledge you have about your course/subject, but you want more. So here are some tips for you too.

  • Revise whatever notes you’ve done, get all the key words and definitions in your head. Do about 3 pass year papers and compare all of them to see what you don’t know or haven’t really grasped.
  • Go and read your lecture notes or even the text book for that section (use the index if you have no idea which chapter its from). If all else fails, Google is there for you buddy.
  • Redo those questions and finish the remaining amount of pass year papers. Each time assessing what you don’t know and correcting it.

3. This applies for those who have done all the possible things there is to recommend. You have finished all your pass year papers (or if you have none refer to number 4). You have memorized all the definitions and points there is from your colorful sets of mind maps and neatly written notes that could make your keyboard jealous, or scribbles on a scratchpad, whatever floats your notes. What else is there to do on the last day?

  • First of all, pat yourself on your super rigidly disciplined back for reaching the epitome of possible outcomes from a system of structured knowledge.
  • Go back to all your pass year papers and write down the shortest essay answer with your full marks in it. The essay should only be a quarter of your former answers (super saturated form). This should include your definitions as well, but the very raw essence of it. This will allow you to understand the essence of your own answer. Do that for 2 types of questions, those which have been asked too many times (relative to how many papers that have been released) and answers that have been asked about 3 to 4 years ago (this especially applies to A-levels). You can even predict your own questions for chapters which have not been touched on (but you only have one day, so if you really wanted to, you should do it some time before the day prior to your exam)
  • write down all the definitions and graphs you have memorized on a piece of paper.
  • take a power nap and get up to read that list again when you wake up.
  • go sit in a corner in silence to cool down.

4. If you do not have any pass year papers at ALL here is what you can do.

  • Ask your lecturer or seniors to give an idea of the form of the questions.
  • create your own questions based on the objectives of your syllabus. For example, if the objective has asked you to understand the necessity of a certain theory, ask your lecturer if that is important, and how it can be applied in exam.

Well, whether you’re prepared or clueless, All the best in your exams!! I’ll be sitting for mine next week so we’ll see if my advice works on myself as well haha.



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