With finals around the corner, it can get pretty stressful. When I first started college, I had no idea how to prepare for finals. Now that I’ve been in school for a long time, and have a ton of experience on the topic, I know how to fully prepare myself. Hopefully, these tips will help prepare you, too!
Photo: Lacie Slezak on Unsplash
First and foremost, go to your last remaining classes of the semester. When I first started college, I skipped my final few classes to sleep in or eat with friends, and it was my biggest mistake. The last classes are usually the most important because that is when the professor will explain and review everything on the final exam for you. This is the time when the professor will tell you what to expect, what to study, and more. This is typically when your professor will give you a study guide as well. So, as lazy and unmotivated as you may be, go to your last remaining classes because review classes can be so beneficial.
My next tip is to go to office hours, tutoring hours, and study sessions– these are all so important. I didn’t utilize these until a few semesters in, and I’m so glad that I finally did. When I finally went to office hours, my professor realized how serious I was about the final and she helped me prepare for the exam. This helped me so much. Also, tutoring hours and study sessions with your classmates are extremely beneficial. Everybody in the class wants to pass, so you’ll be surrounded by people who are motivated and want to get the work done. Your classmates will help you study, and you will help them study as well. Utilize your tutoring hours and study sessions, especially if it’s a class that you’re not doing very well in.
If you’re given a study guide, USE IT! Highlight the important parts and study it. Use index cards if you need to. Have someone quiz you, too. Study section by section. Study for 30-60 minutes per section to ensure that you know the material inside and out. Once finish the last section, quiz yourself on the entire study guide. The guide will be your best friend– don’t lose it!
Another effective strategy that helped me prepare for my finals was to retype all of my notes. Yes, this is a hassle, but when I typed up my notes again, I subconsciously remembered most of the information. If you wrote your notes by hand, try typing them up. If you typed up your notes, try writing them by hand. When you write things down, you will remember the material better, so rewrite your notes, and I can guarantee that you’ll remember a majority of the information.
The next tip that helps me is to study each subject for at least 30-60 minutes a day. If it’s math, for example, I take an hour each day to look over my notes, quiz myself, and do practice problems. Studying little by little is a lot more effective than cramming the information in your head the day before the final. Even if you have a short attention span, studying for just 15 minutes per subject every night will help you out so much more than you know! I recently started doing this, and it really helped. Start studying for the finals about two weeks in advance so you won’t have to cram all the information in your head the night before.
Finally, but most importantly, get a good sleep the night before. Whenever I sleep for three hours the night before an exam, I just feel more anxiety and I freak out the entire time. Go to sleep early! If you normally go to sleep at midnight, try going to sleep at 10. Go to sleep about 2-3 hours before the time that you would normally go to bed, because when you get enough sleep, you’ll feel so much better and more relaxed for your exam.
Hopefully these tips will help you out! Let me know how YOU study and prepare for finals!
My name is Linda Tran. I'm 24 years old from Boston and I'm majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Social Media at the Southern New Hampshire University. A fun fact about me is that I learned coding and HTML at the age of 11.