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#OopsIDidItAgain: Last-minute cramming

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Well done, you played yourself. Again. Now you’re here like: ‘Unlocked, help me! Help me! I was binge-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine instead of studying! Now I only have one day left before I write the most important exam of my life.’ Don’t worry! We love to be needed, and we’re here for you.

Here are eight ways to cram your way to a pass!

Get out of the house!

Grab the bare minimum and head to the campus library or even that hipster coffee shop. Make sure you can find a place where you will not be disturbed, and that will allow you to set up shop for the day. A change of scenery will get your mind into gear. 


I know, err’one always talks about how bad caffeine and sugar are for you, and it’s true. But let’s face it: your cleanse, for this one day, needs to take a back seat. Do whatever you need to do to stay alert and awake; nodding off while reading isn’t very helpful.

Use the 50/10 rule!

Work hard for 50 minutes – no breaks, no distractions. Anytime you get distracted and stop working, the 50 minutes starts over. Once you hit 50, take a 10-minute break. Check your email, go to the bathroom, walk aimlessly around – whatever. Then it’s back to work.


Go through your notes and highlight the important points (no, not the entire paragraph), then rewrite them into a neat study pack. You can use these notes to refer to later, or even just to get you to repeat the study material.

Get a buddy! (No, not that type of buddy.)

Chances are you’re not the only one who put off studying until the last minute. Find someone else to panic with (yay). You’ll either realise how much you already know by asking and answering questions, or you’ll figure out what you need to study. Having another person to bounce your thoughts off can help you cover a lot more work and get another perspective on the material.

Mix it up!

Your brain doesn’t work in perfect order all the time, and neither should you. Instead, read your notes through consecutively only once. Then randomly go back and read your notes. This helps your brain remember the information on its own instead of simply as a part in a series.  If chronology is relevant, ie in a history class, be careful to note chronology, but still change your orders.

Speak up!

Read your notes out loud. Whisper, yell, sing, rap – whatever you like, but say your notes out loud. We can’t overstate how much easier it is to remember something you say, hear and read than something you simply read.


Any sleep you can get is a crucial part of succeeding on a test, and the more the better. Balance caffeine with getting to bed at some point, and, once you get in bed, forget about the test. Think actively about something peaceful so nothing else enters your mind, and you’ll nod right off.

Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates: