|Why, there's a course in two cue cards.|
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 effortTwenty 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 notesUse 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.