On tests, studying, and last-ditch efforts

Why, there's a course in two cue cards.
I don't cut class and I do most assignments.

Essentially, this results in my catching up with my favourite TV series or reading a never-ending chain of novels during exam week. Unfortunately, these tend to be solitary activities, due to everyone else being holed up with an apocalypse-size stash of pretzels and chocolate. (I'm not even going to concern myself with the bellyache that amount of pure salt/sugar might induce.) Honestly, exam week tends to be the most carefree time of the year--few social commitments, minimal school time, and no ridiculous holiday hours at work.

Why cramming is a last-ditch effort

Twenty hours is a lot of time to prepare for a 3-hour test. There is no use in losing sleep or sacrificing real food. A trip to the grocery store should take you 30 minutes, max. You should only be cramming if you feel it necessary to reteach yourself the course from scratch. Seriously, this sort of intensive studying is cruel and unusual punishment, not to mention unnecessary.

Don't stare at your notes

Use keywords: not glossary-style definitions, just focus words which lead to greater ideas and smaller details. Think of each as a door, or as a can of condensed milk. Stack them neatly. If you're an auditory learner, record yourself saying those words in a foreign accent. If you're visual, rewrite the words and notice patterns. Kinesthetic? Prescribe actions to the words. Keep your mental work area spotless, and open those doors/cans when they are called upon.

It works, because we like to make connections. Shakespeare leads to Romeo and Juliet leads to tragedy leads to Tragedy of the Commons leads to Wikipedia leads to bibliography formatting leads to selective media leads to hegemony leads to propaganda leads to Richard Wagner leads to onion rings. Believe me, it's all there, in that East-Australian-Current-stream-of-consciousness. Just pull from the pool.

Don't underestimate yourself

You know the material. Sure, you probably haven't cracked it open in weeks, but you haven't forgotten everything. It'll come back. Don't skip other classes, just review in those classes. Review in your head. Bring reference notes, if you must. It's a challenge: do you know your shit without your notes open in front of you? Plus, you won't miss anything important in those other classes. Also, make use of unfinished homework. You might as well see if you can answer them. If not... well, now you know what to touch up on.

Take a break

I wouldn't suggest taking any more than a memo with several keywords on it to the testing room, if anything. The earlier you do the work, the less time you'll have to invest. It might take an hour to condense a course, but a few 10-minute review sessions beats hours of reading indecipherable scrawl powered only by caffeine. Watch a movie the night before or go for a run. What have I done so far? Spring cleaning, three episodes of Pretty Little Liars, two novels, new playlists, my Trinity college application, and a few too many CollegeHumour videos. It's really not that big a deal.