You probably already know that cramming or pulling an all-nighter is not a good way to study. But do you know why?

Our brains can’t process a large amount of material in such a short time. But if they receive the material gradually, it will sink in a bit more with each passing day.

So, unless it’s a final exam, about six days in advance is the right time to start studying. Here’s one way:

Six days before: Do a first read of all the material that will be covered on the test.

Five days before: Take a second read. Spend extra time on key concepts.

Four days before: Review material again. Write down key concepts in your own words. What do they mean? Have you seen them before? In what context? Where might you see them again?

Three days before: Make a practice test and take it.

Two days before: Do another practice test if you didn’t do well on the first. Otherwise, do one review.

One day before: Do another practice test if needed. Otherwise, do one review. Eat a nutritious dinner. Try to get to bed early enough to get at least eight hours of sleep. Wake in time to eat a solid breakfast in the morning.

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