How to revise analytical subjects like Material Science and Engineering the night before the exam or maybe when the exam lies in three days. For mathematically oriented subjects what I basically do is I revise the tough numericals but what is to be done for analytical things.How do I recollect the whole thing in just one go?
I would draw a distinction between (1) how to best prepare for an exam, and (2) what is the most useful prep you can still do on the last night before an exam. But what you did in step 1 influences your options in step 2.
There are some widely held ideas about what isn't good:
- Trying to cram everything right before the exam. Particularly bad.
- Trying to cram everything the night before. Also bad, although if you still get a full night's sleep it's better than cramming on the day itself, because sleeping seems to help your brain order and file stuff.
- Cramming all night and not being rested at the exam.
Ideally you'd revise some key stuff the evening before, go to sleep confident in your preparation and have a nice night's sleep, have a relaxed breakfast with some healthy food (avoid a sugar crash mid exam) and then get to business. So how do we get to this point?
Obviously you want to be starting rehearsal on time. But what kind of rehearsal? Reading the book again? Watching the recorded lectures again? Not bad, but also not the best. The best would probably be:
- During the original lectures/reading of the book you made your own summary notes. These summaries are focused on extracting the key points and structure of the original material.
- You made the exercise problems during the original run of the course, as it happened.
Then when you're preparing for your exam you can do all these things:
- Make the practice exam, if there is one. Take notes on what you find hard/don't know. This is a diagnosis of what you know before really getting into the serious exam prep. It should give you an idea of what the exam will be about and what kind of questions you need to be able to answer. Start with this because it guides the rest of these steps.
- Read your summaries of the lecture series/book. Ideally, this will make you remember most of the original material. But in any spot where you don't feel confident, read the section in the book again or watch that particular lecture recording again. If your summaries are solid though, reading them should allow you to remember most of the structure of the original and the how and why of the points.
- Re-do any of the exercises that you thought were especially tricky or interesting, or that figured in the practice exam.
- Go through the slides of lectures and see if all of them make sense. If not, re-watch that lecture.
- Go through the practice exam again and it should now be a lot easier.