In college, there’s a lot to do. There are friends and parties and adventures and classes and, sometimes, one of these things can sneak up on you, forcing you to scramble to meet a deadline. And that’s where the cramming comes in. I’m not talking “three days until the midterm” cramming, either. I’m talking “this paper is due in four hours and I haven’t read the book” cramming. College desperation. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

Identify And Destroy

If you’ve only got precious hours until your paper or exam, studying thoroughly is not an option. You don’t have time to cover everything, and instead you’re going to have to central on the things you most clearly need to figure out. For writing essays, this is fairly easy. Decide on your topic first, then flip through the book rapidly only selecting quotes that fit that topic. Then, write your paper along those quotes. It’s that easy! And you have a solid, textual basis for your essay, too. For an exam, the trick is to figure out what sort of exam it is. For multiple choice, focus on the concepts from a top-down basis and ignore details. For an in-class exam, take the opposite approach: memorize a few important details and their broader contexts, and, do whatever you have to do to throw them into the essay, regardless of the actual topic.

See Also: Mindhacking Your Way Through Finals

Keep Moving

You stop studying and you’re done. You’ll get distracted or panic or check Facebook or wonder how much caffeine is too much. So: don’t stop. Absolutely none of the time-sucks of social media and don’t screw around finding the perfect Spotify playlist. Just start immediately and get it done. That’s all it takes, and messing around is going to slow down the deep focus you need to get this done.

See Also: Reduce Procrastination by Developing a Productive Lifestyle

Ask For An Extension (After It’s Done)

This only works for papers, not exams, but it’s a good one. I’m assuming you started your paper with hours to spare before it’s due, and you have to do it. Don’t ask for an extension first: you’ll just postpone it again and if you really need that extension again, tough luck. Instead, use the asking for an extension as a protective measure after the fact: send your paper with an addendum that you had some trouble with it in (name a part of your essay) and you’d like some extra time to work on it. Here’s the catch: you send your paper anyway. That shows that you actually did the paper and gives you a win/win. Either the teacher says “sorry, it’s due” and appreciates your hard-work ethic or they give you an extra day or two and are still impressed with your hard work ethic. That’s a golden tip from yours truly.

Watch This: How To Get An Extension On Your Essay

Go Through The Exam First

If you’re taking a complicated exam and you don’t have time to study, flip through the exam itself for hints. Eventually based on the questions and the assumptions they take, you might figure out some answers. Imagine you know nothing about the class. If a question asks “What Planet is Bigger Than Mars,” even if you have no clue, you know that Mars isn’t the biggest planet, and that one of the four options must be bigger. Will that help? Maybe, maybe not. Studying would’ve helped more, but hey, we’re busy here.

See Also: How To Bounce Back From Failing A Class

Get One Thing Right

If you’re really screwed, there’s a tendency to panic and try to cram heavily, but, during the exam, you can’t remember anything for certain. Was it Bosnia or Serbia? Was it Jupiter or Mars? Instead of doing that, get one thing certainly right. You might luck out and have it help for real. It beats having tons of slush in your head, at least.

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