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    How To Study When You Are Short On Time

    March 28, 2018 Amanda Cross 5 min read
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

    Let's face it; we have all studied last minute before.

    It sucks when the clock is running down, but you still have a ton of pages to read, study, and digest.

    Today's article will help you study when you are short on time so you can get focused, get to work, and stop yourself from crying over your textbooks.

    Related Reading: How To Study When You Feel Unmotivated; What To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed In College (Guest Post On Chase The Write Dream)

    How To Study When You Are Short On Time | Studying when you are short on time can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Click through as I share 10 things that will help you study when you need to cram or quickly intake information.

    1. Start

    We have all had those moments when we feel so overwhelmed with what we have to do that we just don't. Stop that, and start studying. There is a famous quote by Nelson Mandela that states, “it always seems impossible until it's done.” This quote rings true in so many facets, and studying is one of them. Stop procrastinating and get stuff done!

    2. Get Rid Of Your Worries

    You may have a lot of things on your plate, and this can clog your brainpower. Instead of letting your brain get carried away, write down your worrisome thoughts on a sheet of paper. Let your brain know that you can worry about those things later, but right now you need to focus on studying for a test.

    Your mind has a weird way of reminding you of random anxieties and issues. Thank your brain for bringing those up, but ultimately let your mind know that you have more important things to think about right now.

    3. Focus On Important Material

    To be honest, professors share a lot of irrelevant information. We have all had those professors who go on tangents like it's their full-time job! Get to the meat and potatoes of what makes up your test based on previous exams, what your professor spent the most time on in class, study guides, etc. Chances are, some specific things will make up the bulk of the test. Focus on those important ideas first, and then branch out to study other things.

    Related Reading: How To Make Sure What You Are Studying Will Be On The Test

    4. Stop  Multitasking

    Y'all know how I feel about multitasking, as I wrote an entire post on how multitasking is killing your productivity and positivity last December. It seems like a smart idea to focus on multiple tasks, so you get done faster, but in reality, you end up doing a subpar job at both tasks when multitasking. Instead, get hyper-focused on one task at a time until your to-do list is complete.

    5. Pick A Great Study Environment

    Studying in your bedroom is convenient, but often it's not the best environment to study. The same can be said of a library, a coffee shop, etc. It all depends on the environment that you thrive in. When you only have a limited time to study, you need to pull out all the stops! Go to the environment that's going to help you study more efficiently and effectively.

    How To Study When You Are Short On Time | Studying when you are short on time can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Click through as I share 10 things that will help you study when you need to cram or quickly intake information.

    6. If You Study In A Group, Study With Equally Motivated People

    If you are cramming or studying a lot, you need to study with people who are also motivated to study hard. When others around you are distracted, or worse, distracting, that won't help you prepare for your test. You need to work with people who will motivate you to be the best studier you can be. Work with people who won't deal with you being distracting to them and vice versa. Some people are fun to study with when you have a lot of time to study, but you don't have that time!

    7. Study In A Way That's Productive For The Test

    You can't study for a multiple-choice test in the same way that you study for an essay based exam! Each testing method requires a different level of material understanding. Go back to what your professor said about the layout of the test, and make sure you spend your time studying effectively. Don't waste your time with ineffective study methods.

    Related Reading: 12 Study Techniques For College Students

    8. Breathe

    Studying in a short period of time can feel overwhelming. Feelings of overwhelm can render you helpless and motionless. Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths and try not to cry into your textbook. Being at your wit's end can feel awful, but I promise this feeling is only temporary.

    Breathe in, breathe out.

    9. Take Smart Breaks

    You can't spend every waking minute studying! It's okay to take a few small, smart breaks when you are working towards your goals. Here are a few examples of breaks you can take:

    • Do Nothing For 2 Minutes: I love this website from Calm. It's a picture of a calming ocean, ocean wave sounds, and a timer. You can't touch your mouse or keyboard for two blissful minutes. When you need to take a quick break, it's a great option.
    • Guided meditation: Meditations come in all shapes and sizes. There are a ton of five-minute meditations that are perfect for your quick breaks!
    • Cook dinner: You need to keep food in your system during this time away, so you might as well take a break to cook dinner.
    • Read a chapter of a book: A little for fun reading will take your mind off studying for a bit. Keep it simple and read or listen to a chapter of a book on audiobook.
    • Get a quick workout in: A quick 30-minute workout will help you stay energized and happy during the rest of your study session. Do a quick in-home workout on your break!

    10. Get Some Sleep

    Many people skip sleep when they are studying in a short period of time, but going to sleep helps solidify information in your brain. When you sleep, your mind begins to make connections, and it stores content in your long-term memory. Many people cram, go straight to the test, throw it up, and forget what they learned. Taking some time to sleep on the material will help you recall it long after the test day is through!


    Studying when you are short on time can be a daunting process. I hope that these ten tips have helped you so that you can study effectively even when you don't have that much time. Preferably, you will study earlier, so you don't have to cram or study quickly, but I understand that is not always possible. I have studied last-minute for my fair share of tests, and I would never judge that! These tips will equip you with the tools necessary to crush your tests, no matter how much time you have to study!

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    1 Comment

  • Tavish Williams March 29, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Ha, do I remember some last minute cramming session in college and graduate school. This is some great advice. I found it important to study to get the most points. Not everything will be on the exam, and if you know what will and what won’t use that to your advantage. Great post 🙂

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    About Amanda

    Hey Y’all!
    My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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