We all know that revision is important if you want to succeed in your exams. However, should is it a good idea to be revising so close to the start of our exam? Won’t this just put us off? Isn’t it panic revision?
In this article I’ll be taking a look at the best things to do right before your exam. I’ll be going over the important questions you may have about revision, too.
In essence, yes – you should be revising the day before your exam. It’s important to use that last bit of time you have to make sure you know everything you need. The reason it’s so useful is that it crams all that last–minute info into your short-term memory, so you can recall it during your exam. Furthermore, revising the day before your exam will most likely give you a boost in confidence as you start to realise how much you actually remember.
How Much Revision Should You Do The Day Before Your Exam?
As I’ve said, it’s never too late to start. Any amount of revision will help you out for your exams, and so starting at any point is guaranteed to assist you.
It depends on how hard you work, too. The harder you work during your revision, the better and faster you’ll take in what you need to know.
If you’re a fast learner, your revision will also be faster. This then means that you don’t have to start so early, because you don’t need as much time.
However, no matter how fast you are, there will be a point at which it’s too late to be able to cover all the content.
I recommend that you revise a minimum of 3 hours the day before your exam, however, you shouldn’t be revising more than 8 hours in a day either.
How Should You Revise On The Day Before An Exam?
Your exam is a day away, and you’ve done everything you can to prepare for it up to this point. How can you make these final minutes matter?
Cram. Go over as much content as you can in the time you have left, in the hopes of covering any curveballs the exam might throw at you.
I personally think that past papers are the best way to cram the day before an exam. The reason past papers are so effective is because past papers get you used to the feeling of being in an exam. Furthermore, if you are practicing on relevant past papers, the style of questions will be extremely similar to that of your actual exam.
Make sure you check out this article on the 7 best revision techniques! These revision techniques are incredibly effective and I’m confident that they will really help you on the day before your exam.
Anyway, revising intensively will also get you in the right frame of mind for your exam. It will refresh all those facts and figures you learnt so long ago, and strengthen the knowledge you have.
Again, don’t panic. Panicking is one of the worst things you can do before your exam. We know confidence is key, and so try and remain calm for both your revision and your exam.
Because your exam is so close, you should by now know what topics / content you’re good at. You should revise the topics you are good at – if you have time. However, your main objective should be too go over every topic that you are not confident in at all. If you decide to only revise topics that you are already confident in, it is guaranteed that you will lose marks on those topics you decided to neglect.
This will not only help your coverage of the subject, but increase your confidence too. Going over bad topics will increase your proficiency with them, meaning you’ll be more comfortable in that exam.
Don’t try and remember long texts or huge extended writing pieces. This is a waste of your time, and is usually useless information in your exam!
It’s better to look at short snippets of info, as they’re easier to remember and are more applicable to questions.
It’s for this reason that flashcards are so popular. Flashcards are a great way of quickly storing information in your short-term memory.
They are especially useful on the day before your exam, and even the morning of your exam too. There is an article on this website that tells you what you should be doing on the morning of an exam if you are interested, you should definitely check it out.
Obviously, they’re not for everyone, so choose a revision style that suits you. Just remember – the more revision you do the day before your exam, the better.
What Happens If You Don’t Revise The Day Before An Exam?
It’s good if you DO revise on the day before an exam, but is it so bad if you don’t?
It’s important to keep up your revision schedule right up to the last minute. Failure to do so can result in worse grades!
Every single minute you spend revising counts. There’s always a chance you’ll come across that one bit of information that makes the difference between an A and an A*.
It’s quite a low chance, but it does still happen. Besides, if you’re looking at this article, are you really in a position to be taking chances?
There are benefits to not revising the day before your exam, however.
One of which is that you’ll be more rested for your exam. Taking a break from your revision will leave you feeling revitalised and rejuvenated the next morning.
However, there is one major drawback for this – you might not remember the content you need to be able to recall.
Your break from revision will also break the routine you have. This could mean that you become less confident in your revision, answers, and the exam as a whole.
This will in turn end in less marks and lower grades. It’s much better to revise on the day before your exam to ensure the maximum confidence.
However, if you decide not to revise the day before your exam, you really need to ensure that you are doing the right things on the morning of the exam – otherwise the exam might not turn out the way you expected it to.
Can’t You Just Pull An All-Nighter The Evening Before Your Exam?
Short-term memory is useful for cramming information in just before your exam. So, using this logic, can’t you just revise through the night before your exam?
The answer is most definitely NO. Do not spend your night revising for your exam instead of sleeping!
Yes, revision can and will help you in your exam. And yes, cramming it into your short-term memory on the day before is a good idea.
But that doesn’t mean you should replace sleep with revision. Sleep is very important if you want to succeed in any exams you take.
When you sleep after revision, it gives your brain a chance to rest and soak up the information that you’ve learnt. Without this time, you’ll most likely forget what you revised…
Lack of sleep can also lead to drowsiness during your actual exam. This will lead to a lack of focus and concentration, and in turn result in less marks. There is really no worse feeling than falling asleep during an exam.
If you are unconscious, you cannot answer questions!
It’s much better to get the sleep you need on the night before your exam, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and well rested.
If you want to know more about why all-nighters are a BAD IDEA, take a look at my article on 21 Things You Should Avoid Doing in The Heat of Exam Season.
I’m not by any means saying that revision on the day before your exam is a bad idea. In fact, it’s a good thing! Revision so close to your exam is likely to stick in your head, so revise away.
However, it is important to balance that revision with short breaks (and sleep). This way, you give your brain a chance to recuperate and absorb all of that heavy revision!
It will also leave you in a better state for your exams, so you can focus better, and gain more marks.
Why Is It Important To Get Information Into Your Short Term Memory The Day Before The Exam?
We know that revision is important in the months before your exam, because you need to actually understand the topics before you revise them. However, just as essential, is what you have put in your short-term memory before the exam.
As I’ve previously stated, cramming information into your short-term memory while your exam is miles away is a bad idea. You’ll forget it all by the time exams roll around.
It’s much better to revise slowly but surely, leading up to higher intensity the closer you get to exams.
However, as exams approach, you might want to start storing your revision in your short-term memory. Especially if you’re revising the day before your exam!
Even if you are not doing GCSEs, there is a fantastic graph showing how the intensity of your revision should change during the lead up to an exam on my article explaining when the best time to revise for your GCSEs is.
Short term memory storage allows for lots more information to be learnt in a shorter period of time. Long term revision takes time to implement, and that’s why you start it so early.
This means that intense revision on the day before your exam can be very beneficial. You can store lots of crucial facts in your head in just enough time for you to pour them out in your exam! It also helps you to get in the right mood for your exam.
Storing your revision in your short-term memory so close to your exam also means that you’ll forget it afterwards.
This is good for when exams come back to back each day, because you’ll need to cram multiple times!
Just make sure that if you are cramming all your revision into your short-term memory, you leave time for rest. Revising takes a lot out of you anyway, let alone if you’re cramming.
You need rest so your brain can process all the content you’ve revised. If you don’t rest, you won’t process the information you’re trying to learn – and you might not pass.
What Shouldn’t You Be Doing On The Day Before Your Exam?
There are lots of things that are not good to do on the day before your exam. Here are just a few examples.
Probably the most important one to remember is not to panic. Panicking leads to loss of confidence in yourself, and this can be seriously bad for your exams performance.
Try and keep calm. Even if you’re worrying that it’s too late, or you think you might fail, just focus on the positives. If you stay calm, you’re more likely to succeed in your exam. Your head will be clearer, and so will your answers.
Definitely don’t stay up late on the day before your exam either (wouldn’t recommend staying up past 10). I’ve talked about how bad all-nighters can be, and it’s especially bad to pull one so close to your exam.
Don’t start celebrating too early, either. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the end of revision, but it’s important to stay focused.
Losing concentration at this point, when it matters most, can have some seriously negative effects on your exam results.
If you want some more information on what not to do, there is an entire list of things you should not be doing while revising for exams here.
When Should You of Started Revising For Your Exams?
So, you know that revision on the day before your exam is good, and revision in the night is NOT. But when should you start revising for your exams?
In this section, we’re mostly talking about long-term revision. This is because the revision you do will end up in your long-term memory.
It’s important to start revising early, because you need to fully understand all of the topics in a subject way before you start short-term-memory revising for these topics.
If you don’t start your revision at the right time, you might not have enough time to cover everything.
Equally, if you start too early, you might find that the revision you do at the start is forgotten by the time you sit your exam.
If you are taking your GCSE’s, the best time to start your revision is around the 10th of March to the end of the Easter holidays. Starting inside this time frame should allow you to cover everything you need for your exams.
However, starting revision outside of this time period doesn’t guarantee failure. It just means that it’ll be harder for you to retain every key bit of information for your exams.
And remember that there is no point too late to start your revision. Even if it’s the day before your exam, revision can and will help.
If you’re reading this article and your exams are already right around the corner, don’t panic! The worst thing you can do is panic.
Just start revising as soon as you can. Focus on the topics you’re not so good at, and skim over the topics you are good at.
This way you should balance out your subjects, and in turn, your grades.
For more tips on the best time to start revising for your GCSEs, take a look at my article on When Is The Best Time To Start Revising For Your GCSE’s?. Or if you are studying for A-Levels, check out When Is The Best Time To Start Revising For Your A-Levels?
How Does Confidence Help You In Your Exam?
We all get nervous before exams, it’s to be expected. But how can you be confident, and how does it affect the outcome of your grades?
It’s natural to feel stressed and anxious about exam season. After all, exams are a test to show how adept you are at something.
It especially doesn’t help that with the more revision you do, the more the exam matters. The amount of time you put into preparation will determine how much the exam matters to you!
But, being confident in your ability will seriously help you out in an exam. If you’re confident in yourself, you’re less likely to doubt your answers (doubting answers wastes time), and you’ll end up feeling more positive.
You engage with things that you’re more positive about, which is why videogames can be more tempting than revision. Because you’d be more engaged in your exam, your focus and concentration would be improved.
If you aren’t confident, your exam will make you nervous and worried. This can distract you from the task at hand, and lead to you making more mistakes.
So, now we know that being confident will help you improve your grades, but how do you do it?
There are a few ways. Revising will boost your confidence, as you become more comfortable with the content.
Getting lots of rest will help too, as then your brain gets better at processing information faster. The faster your brain gets, the more info you can take in, and the more confident you will be.
What Else Can You Do On The Day Before An Exam To Improve Your Chances of Success?
Revision is a must on the day before your exam, but what else can you do to help?
One important thing is sleep. Getting rest after revision (as I’ve already said) will give you a chance to absorb all the information you’ve studied.
It will also give you the energy you need to do well in your exams. You don’t want to be tired or drowsy during your exam, trust me – it leads to mistakes.
This doesn’t mean you should drink energy drinks to boost your focus though. In fact, that’s a bad idea. Drinking energy drinks will make you energetic for a short while, but leave you dopey during or after your exam.
If you really want to succeed, I suggest doing something that makes you feel happy or positive, too. The more positive you feel, the more confident you’ll be about the exam.
This means anything you want it to mean. Videogames, origami, sports, you name it – as long as it makes you happy and boosts your confidence, it’s good for your exam.
Don’t replace revision with fun activities though. If you have to choose between revision or fun, always choose revision on the day before your exam.
Just think about it, after your exams there’ll be no more need for revision. You’ll have all the time in the world to have fun, or to regret the hours you didn’t spend revising.
If you have any questions about your exam, talk to your teacher about it. Even ironing out your issues so close to the exam can still help.
Reading this article on the morning of your exam? Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. Give the article on the 17 Best Things To Do On The Morning of Your Exam a read.
What’s The Point of Revision Before An Exam Anyways?
Revision is long and laborious, and not many people enjoy it. So, what do we even do it for?
It’s important that you know all the facts and figures for your exam, so you don’t make any mistakes. What’s even more important is being able to use them together to formulate answers.
Revision is a key tool in helping your brain do this. Going over things will put them in your long-term memory, meaning you’ll be able to recall them for your exam.
This is also why it’s better to start your revision early. Starting early means that you have more time to spread yourself across all your subjects, and results in better grades.
A good example of revision is riding a bike. The more times you do it, the better you get. We also know that it goes into your long-term memory, as you don’t tend to forget how to do it!
And to quote the common phrase, practice makes perfect.
Revision for your exams also prepares you for later on in life. Especially at GCSE level, the independent work you do for your exams will come in useful for further education.
This is because the further you get through education, the more independent it becomes. GCSE is reliant on school, college half depends on you, and university is almost all you!
Revision so close to your exam will likely be more intense. This is only because students tend to get anxious and worry about their exams, and revise harder to compensate.
This leads to information going into your short-term memory. This is fine for when your exam is a day away, as that information can most likely be accessed.
The problem comes when you cram the facts and figures early on. Because they go into your short-term memory, you’re unlikely to be able to recall them during your distant exam.