My recommendation is to prepare for your exams/courses in the same way you would prepare for a sport competition. The reason is that both sport and exams are about performance: you are expected to show up in a given place at a given time and do something very difficult. The key to succeed at an exam is to think of yourself as a professional athlete. You have a very important competition in December (your final exam) and another competition in October (your midterm exam). In order to do well, you need to:

  • Start training early: a week is not enough to prepare a marathon (or any competition).

  • Do it frequently. Let's say that in order to prepare a marathon you need to run 100 hours. Concentrating these 100 hours of training in the last 3 weeks is probably not a good idea. You want to spread them through several week of in order to avoid injuries and get the most out of your muscles.

  • Test yourself once in a while. Problem sets are a great way to simulate an exam and to see what gaps there are in your preparation.

  • Never train excessively. Trying to learn too much stuff at once leads to the accumulation of stress and (at best) only a very superficial knowledge of the material.

  • Keep stress away. Stress prevents you from learning effectively and from performing to your full potential. However, when the workload is high stress naturally builds up. You should identify what activities reduce your stress level and make sure you do them as much as you need, even if it means studying a bit less (studying when stressed is useless anyway).

  • Manage carefully your eating/sleeping/social schedule. You want to be in good condition during the semester and in top condition on exam day.

  • The evening before the exam, go watch a movie and go to bed early. Your final grade is going to be the minimum between how prepared you are and how awake you are. Therefore, staying up to study is counterproductive.