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Are you panicking because your finals are near and you don’t know what to do?

You have come to the right place.

In this article, I will be giving you 7 simple steps on how to cram for finals.

So sit back and learn these 7 steps before you start cramming for your finals.

1. Set a goal


Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash | Goal

First and foremost, before you even start going through your school notes, you need to have a goal


Think of it as a compass. 

A goal shows you the direction you need to head to reach your destination (at least passing your finals or even achieving AWESOME grades). 

In other words, it guides you through to achieve your desired result. 

Furthermore, a goal is also a powerful motivator.

With a goal in mind, you become more focused and you know what you are working hard for. There is no longer a time when you study just for the sake of studying. The difference now is that you have an AIM. 

Your aim is to get your desired grades and that is what you will be working hard for. 

Hence, you become more motivated to keep cramming to achieve your desired grades. 

How’s that to kickstart your cramming journey?

2. Gather whatever resources you need to study each topic 

Study resources

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash | Study resources

Very often, going through the school year, you may have notes lying around in your room. 

Either you are too lazy to organize your notes or that you don’t have time to do so.

Hence, your notes, practices, and whatever papers are separated from each other. 

Now is the time to gather them all together. 

Basically, you need to dig out any revision resource you have to revise each topic sufficiently and effectively.

This can include your friends’ notes, school worksheets, etc. 

You can also find whatever study resources like explanatory videos on Youtube, tuition if necessary, consultations with teachers, etc to help you with your revision. 

3. Find out what you don’t know

Obviously, with limited time, it is very difficult to study everything in the syllabus.

This is why you need to know what you don’t know.

That is, knowing the gaps in your understanding and knowledge so that you fill them up first before brushing up on the content you already know. 

The key here is prioritizing the topics or content that you do not have a good grasp on. The topics or content that you have a good understanding of, have a lower importance so they can be left for later. 

After writing so much, you may be wondering how to know what are your weak topics?

Again, look through each topic and see whether you understand them. If you understand what is going on, you would at least have a decent knowledge of that topic and can skip that topic for later.

You want to pay special attention to topics that you simply don’t know what is going on. 

4. Plan a schedule for the remaining time to cover as many topics as possible


Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash | Schedule

Next, it is time to see how much time you have left for cramming and the amount of content you can cover.

Start by taking out a piece of A4 paper and drawing as many columns as the number of days you have left to your finals.

If you have more than 7 days before your finals, that’s great! More time to cram! Use another piece of paper after you have drawn 7 columns on the first sheet.

Nice! Now that you have your timetable, it is time to add things in.

In order you find out how many topics you can cover, you have to know how long it takes to revise each topic

As such, look through each topic and roughly gauge how long you need to revise each topic. Indicate the number beside the topic.

Afterward, try to fit as many study sessions as you can till your finals. That is, try to fit in as many study sessions where you will be studying as many topics as you can for each subject. 

After this, if you still have remaining topics that simply can’t be fitted into your schedule, don’t worry! There is still some chance to revise them.

Try to go through the first day of your schedule and see whether you have any spare time left after completing all the planned study sessions.

If you do, hooray! You can slot these remaining topics into these time slots to study them.

However, in the event that you have already maxed out your time, try revising the important and big topics first and leave the rest for the last. This way, you can still get the bulk of the marks for each subject.

Make sure to commit to this schedule. Studying is tough, but if you put in the necessary commitment and effort, I believe you can get the results that you want.

5. Compile important points for each topic and for every subject. 

Study notes

Photo by Felipe Furtado on Unsplash | Study notes

With a schedule in place, it is time to revise each topic quickly but effectively.

The best way to do so would be to compile important points for each topic

Not only does compiling shrink the amount of content you need to study to a small, compressed amount, but compiling also gives you the chance to revise the content along the way.

Isn’t it killing two birds with one stone?

You understand the topic and revise it at the same time.

Since time is limited, your compilation doesn’t have to be pretty. 

Instead, ensure it is concise and easily readable for quick revisions. 

A recommended tool you can use to compile the important points for each subject would be Anki. It is an online flashcard tool that many students love and I am sure you will too!

6. Practise a ton of questions. 

Having learned all the necessary content tested in exams, it is now time to put them into practice.

Application of knowledge is one of the most important components to scoring well in exams

It has 5 main benefits.

  1. Helps you understand how exam questions are written and what keywords they usually use.
  2. Assists you to find gaps in knowledge.
  3. Helps you understand how your knowledge can be applied in many different ways. 
  4. Is an indication of how well prepared you are for the exams.
  5. Gives you countless opportunities to learn from your mistakes so that you don’t make them in the actual exam.


Initially, you may find practicing difficult and demoralizing. The questions are more difficult than usual and you are getting many wrong.

Let me tell you something!

That is how many straight-A students also started out

They made all the mistakes they can make during practice so that they can make as few mistakes as possible in exams!

The thing is, mistakes are necessary for any student to learn each topic better and score better in exams. 

So when you find yourself getting many questions wrong at the start, don’t worry!

Learn from your mistakes and keep going!

All your efforts will pay off in the exams if you work hard.

7. Reward yourself sufficiently.

Reward yourself after studying

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash | Reward yourself

With all the cramming, you are likely to lose motivation quickly. 

Even with the above-mentioned step of having a goal, your motivation will still wane.

Hence, rewards are necessary to keep your spirits high and inspire you to persevere.

Getting a reward, you may instantaneously feel energized and eager to keep going.

Gradually, your brain will recognize that you will be rewarded after a productive study session. This makes you more willing to start studying and persevere through your study session. 

A reward can be anything from food to outings with friends or even a short gaming session. 

However, I have a word of warning. A reward should not be something you will get addicted by. Otherwise, there will be no point in using rewards to motivate you to study. 

So after every productive session, go ahead and give yourself a treat. 

You deserve it!

Reward yourself daily for your hard work and diligence.

That will keep your motivation steadily high throughout your cramming sessions.


With these 7 steps on how to cram for finals, I truly believe that you will be able to score AWESOME results. That is not to say, without painstaking hard work and resilience while you cram for your finals.

“You reap what you sow.” 

Follow these 7 steps, give your best and keep going!

Good luck and all the best for your finals!


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A former 'A' Level student heading into university next year, is passionate to help others excel in school! He regularly shares tips and strategies on various aspects of school, focusing mainly on studying, time management, and organizing.

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