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How to Study for an Exam in One Day

Updated on August 02, 2016

Joined: 3 years agoFollowers: 42Articles: 29

The last few weeks of school can be scary for students of all ages, whether you're cramming for a test or trying to write an essay quickly.

But it's even more stressful when you've only got one day to study for an important exam.

The good news is you that can prepare for a test in 24 hours, but you've got to be strategic about how you approach the material.

These tips are designed to help you save time while you're studying, whether you're beginning a full day before the exam or even the night before. With some hard work and perseverance, you'll be able to confidently identify and memorize key concepts in the course, even if you've fallen behind in class.

Before You Begin

a. Remain Calm

If you've left studying to the day before the test, it's likely that you're panicking about how you're going to get all of the work done in such a small amount of time. No matter what your circumstances are, it's absolutely important that you don't panic. Stress and anxiety will make it much harder to concentrate, memorize facts, and think critically about the exam material.

If you're feeling overly stressed, take fifteen minutes before studying to clear your mind and relax. Try some yoga, listen to a favorite song, or make a quick call to a supportive friend. Just don't make it any longer than fifteen minutes—set that timer and be prepared to get to work once relaxation time is over.

b. Find a Quiet Spot

It's tempting to study with a large group of friends, especially if you're tackling a particularly hard subject. And while friends can provide some much-needed support, they're not always the best study buddies when you're pressed for time.

If you're serious about getting the work done, look for a quiet study spot away from friends, television, and other distractions. If you need to, turn your phone off, or at least set it to silent so you don't disturb other people around you. Having the peace and quiet you need to concentrate is key to studying effectively when you only have one day.

c. Gather Your Materials

Don't make the mistake of beginning a study session without the proper supplies. Take the time to find a blank notebook, some pens, the course syllabus and textbook, and your full class notes. Organize these materials neatly on a clean work surface, so that you have the freedom and space to access them when you need to.

6 Steps to Success

Once you've gathered your materials, taken some time to relax, and found a great study spot, it's time to get down to business. These six steps will help you study for an exam in 24 hours or less.

1. Make a List of Important Terms/Concepts/Ideas

The first thing you need to realize is that you can't possibly study everything in the course in one day. That's simply impossible and would require way more time than you have.

Think of your study session as a type of "triage," where you only concentrate on the most important concepts, terms, and ideas in the course. The logic behind this strategy is that if a concept is very central to the course, then you will gain peripheral knowledge of other less important topics by focusing on it.

In general, you know something is important if:

  • The instructor has explicitly said it will be on the exam.
  • It has come up a lot in the textbook and/or lectures.
  • It is fundamental to understanding other topics in the course.
  • It is highlighted, underlined, or bolded in a course syllabus or textbook.

To begin looking for these terms, grab your course syllabus, a pen, and a blank notebook. Start making your way through the syllabus, jotting down any important terms in the blank notebook as you go. Another idea is to make flash cards for each key term.

Whatever method you choose, make sure you have a complete inventory of these key concepts for review. Keep this list handy so you can add more terms as you work. The idea is to make a kind of "cheat list" for you to review at the end of the studying session.

2. Look for Summaries in the Textbook

If your textbook is well-designed, it should have summaries of each section at either the beginning or the end of each chapter.

Find these summaries and study them—hard. Some professors will also provide summaries of important themes as handouts for the class.

Anything that's labeled Introduction, Conclusion, or Summary is what you want to focus on here, since these sections will synthesize information for you, making it easier to remember.

3. Make More Notes as You Go

Research shows that you learn much better if you write information down. As you study, jot down anything you want to commit to memory.

Unlike your list of key terms, this type of note-taking doesn't have to be neat. Just grab some scraps of paper and write down what you need to remember.

Make sure you're writing and not typing, since typing isn't as effective for memorizing facts.

4. Make Use of Mind Maps, Charts, and Graphs

This isn't something you want to spend a lot of time doing if you're pressed for time, but taking fifteen minutes to make a quick mind map is a great way to synthesize the information you've learned.

One of the tricks to studying effectively is seeing the connections between various topics in the course.

Don't make the mistake of assuming the material in Week One has no relevance to Week Seven. In fact, it's more than likely that Week Seven directly builds on concepts learned near the beginning of the course.

Try using a visual aid, like a chart, graph or mind map, to explicitly identify the connections between the course material. It'll give you a much better understanding of the concepts as a whole.

5. Teach a Friend

Another effective way of memorizing information is to pretend you're teaching it to someone else.

Once you feel reasonably comfortable with the material, meet up with a friend for an hour and present them with what you know. Encourage them to ask questions about the material so you'll be forced to re-explain concepts or think more critically about the subject.

It sounds hard, but teaching someone who knows less about a topic than you do is a great way to cement what you already know.

6. Review Your Important Terms List

Remember the list of terms you made at the beginning of the study session? It's now time to review it and make sure you understand everything on the list.

For each term, try saying a complete definition out loud. If you can't remember a term, put an asterisk next to it and move on to the next one.

By the end of this exercise, you should feel pretty confident about many of the terms, and not so confident about the ones with asterisks. Take 30 minutes or so to refresh your memory on the trickier terms, then quiz yourself again.


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    • Hdfc 47 hours ago

      Teach a friend and taking notes these are nonsense as we have only little time to study our subjects .

    • HalaWoloZoroLuffy 3 days ago

      Such a good article. Suggest that you follow these great tips. Don't necessarily work for Languages, but still helpful if you don't have time, even for Languages.

    • Diana 12 days ago


    • 2 weeks ago

      how to write my exam without fear tomorrow is my exam

    • Saira 2 weeks ago

      Tomorrow is my exam and all I know is that I am freaking out!

      I'm trying to stay calm

    • 4 weeks ago

      Lets see it works or not tomorrow ... Hope so work

    • seema grace 5 weeks ago

      nice tips i am going to follow right now.i hope it works

    • sri rekha 5 weeks ago

      Tnq I like thus website

    • jija 6 weeks ago


    • fayton 6 weeks ago

      Thanks wana try it...

    • fayton 6 weeks ago

      Thanks wana try it...

    • Zaara Soomro 6 weeks ago

      I think you should make notes and revise them at the end!

    • Prasanna 6 weeks ago

      Making notes on the day before is better to review our notes or summary in that time

    • Mujtaba 6 weeks ago

      I like these tips but my little brother distracts me he cannot live without me .Well iwill try these tips b/c i have 3days ikkmkleft for exams

    • shrija 7 weeks ago

      this is not good to keep like this

    • sonam tshomo 7 weeks ago

      I think it would it

    • Shivanshi 7 weeks ago

      The tips are really good and I have only 3 days for my exams and I have not completed half of the portions so it's avoid help for me and thanks for sharing your ideas

    • ano 2 months ago

      nice work and thanks

    • Ash 2 months ago

      Thank u for the tips...

    • SMentile 2 months ago

      Thanks im going to try this i got only two day left

    • Anne 2 months ago

      Can these tips follow up to spelling bee studies? :s

    • Angle 2 months ago

      I will belive it

    • methshi 2 months ago

      thanks for the tips

    • Bhavya 2 months ago

      Thank you very much. I used this tricks on my computer subject and now I am passed with 80 on 100

    • Nyanthoria 2 months ago

      Wow, I totally aced today's exam (science) using these techniques, with time to spare! This guide helped me burst through my conservative bubble -- I turned a brand new notebook into scraps of paper! And I didn't know that mind maps could reinforce my memory so! Thanks! Got another exam (medicine) coming up in two days. Both exams are hurdles, so... Wish me luck!

    • priya 2 months ago

      Thank you

    • jennifer 2 months ago


    • prachiti 3 months ago

      Sometimes life is full of problems

      But this GOLDEN article can solve

      all problems.

    • Issac limson 3 months ago

      Does it work for hindi

    • Pink 3 months ago

      All within one day??? Its so not possible... Taking down all those notes itself will consume half de day!!!

    • anyonyumus 3 months ago

      ita weirdd tips u cant possibly do tht

    • paveena 3 months ago

      i just loved it

    • merin joy 3 months ago

      brilliant. my fear had flied away from me . and,i start to stdy

    • Anonymous 3 months ago

      Nice work ..... It really boosted my confidence....only a day left for social science exam and , have to study 11 chapters so cheers.....

    • selmah celine 4 months ago

      thanks a lot hopefully it will help

    • aditi 4 months ago

      its gud,actually not that gud but yes it is a little helpful

    • Manognya 4 months ago

      Thank you very much.As i felt so much fear.Any way "THANKS"

    • tejashwini 4 months ago

      thanks alot

    • Julian 4 months ago

      Thanks for fulfilling my confidence back

    • fhh 4 months ago

      It is totally rubbish.I will advice other users not to try is stupid!!!!! And time wastage

    • duck producktions 4 months ago

      hope this helps

    • Shivani Aggarwal 4 months ago

      thnk u soo much for such tips these tips will help me in my exams days....

    • Nuyton 4 months ago

      Wow thanks

    • Chevonne 5 months ago

      OMG great tips my exams tomorrow so this is soooooooooooooooo GREAT help!!!

    • Maniraj 5 months ago

      after reading this post i hope i can write the exam without stress...

    • tara 5 months ago

      wow... simple and easy tips you shared. It will be very useful for students those who are doing distance education. Thank you for th great tips.

      Tara, Edubilla

    • amahleNtshwanti 7 months ago

      Thanks I'm writing tomorrow.

    • avangalista toricilli 10 months ago

      This is bullshit! How can we write all the important points in a notebook..I have total 24 chapters and I have just 12 hours to read..if I busy with making important notes in a note book.. Then my chances of failng is even more...whatever thanks for posting this

    • Arup Jyoti Mohanty 10 months ago

      i can't remember my study for a long time

      so plz tell me how can i improve my memory power??

    • kaaya 11 months ago


    • ...... ....... 11 months ago


    • sha... 12 months ago

      yeah, very useful:)

    • Srikrishna 12 months ago

      I am not understanding what to follow

    • Ryan 13 months ago

      Very encouraging and helpful. Trying to study for 2 exams in one day. Although its pretty hard to study for a course without my history textbook

    • Teekam gurjar 14 months ago

      Thanks for good tips

    • srikant 14 months ago

      thanx for giving good tips

    • Rimmy 14 months ago

      Thanks so much. At least I'm not panicking anymore.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 14 months ago from Dominica

      Some good tips here!

    • shanaya 14 months ago

      I m weak in algebra...and i have got only one day yo study 3 chapters....these tips r really boosted my i m not so scared....thks a lot....

    • Zeeshan 14 months ago

      Helpful! Thanx a ton!

    • pavan 16 months ago


    • priya 16 months ago

      thanks fa ur wondrefull tipsssss

    • neha 16 months ago

      Nice tips

    • terrence ngari 16 months ago

      I usually do not like jotting down notes after reading,I rarely do that. How can I overcome that laziness in me.

    • jaspreet 16 months ago


    • palak 16 months ago

      its really useful really helps me to clear the exams

    • Rishika 17 months ago

      Keeping calm a night before exam while knowing that other frnds have completed their syllabus is next to impossible

    • Zohra 20 months ago

      Thank you , that's really helpful and i appreciate the fact that you're supporting our laziness talents !!!!!

    • adriana 20 months ago

      how can i ever fail with these tips !!!!!!!!!!

    • srilu 20 months ago

      very usefull tips

    • Karishma 21 months ago

      Very helpful tips I just applied it it was worked

    • bastab 21 months ago

      thanks, it's really encouraging and helpful.

    • MysteryGirl 21 months ago


    • pavan 21 months ago

      it is very nice . tnx so much

    • kiruthiga 22 months ago

      It's very useful

    • Gareth 22 months ago

      Thanks and i hope it be useful

    • jp 23 months ago

      Im going to study 2 books ( science and math) in just one day. :( kill me now

    • irene 24 months ago

      Thankx this tips somehow gave courage!!!!!

    • sum1 2 years ago


    • Nisha 2 years ago

      It's great . I like this type of ideas.

    • bagh 2 years ago


    • Hussain 2 years ago

      Of great help

    • mimi 2 years ago

      list of the tips is long don't know which one to use

    • mirza 2 years ago

      I cnt undrstnd the lsns proply

    • aisha 2 years ago

      Informative... (y)

    • jeje 2 years ago

      it's silly but i thought im the only one doing the asterisk

    • swathi 2 years ago

      beautyful tips say me some more tips please

    • sandhya 2 years ago

      nice tips donkey tips

    • madamrekha profile image

      Rekha Kumari 2 years ago from Delhi India

      Nice and informative content.

      voted up


    • Ashraya Shrestha 2 years ago

      Thanks for tips

    • Ashraya Shrestha 2 years ago

      There are many mathematical problems hard to remember points.

    • minore profile image

      minore 3 years ago from india

      Thanks for the tips............

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