How to Prepare for Final Exams

December 12, 2018

The end of the semester is fast approaching, and it’s becoming more important to get on top of all your classes. Now is not the time to skip class or doodle in your notebook; it’s time to get serious and ace those exams! It can be difficult to focus when you are so close to finishing yet another semester, but there are plenty of tricks and tips for studying for exams. This article will help with those strategies, so you can feel accomplished and successful during finals season.


Photo: Nick Morrison on Unsplash  


This semester, I desperately wanted to be one of those girls who could get all my schoolwork done at a trendy coffee shop. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t work out—I realized that I can only study in a quiet library or at home in my room, where it is silent, peaceful, and comfortable. Find the study spot that works best for you, where you can work productively while feeling at ease and in your element.


Now that you have picked a place, create a routine for yourself. When I am at the library or in my room, I can only focus for so long before I zone out and neglect my work. To stay productive, I set goals for myself. For example, I might study a chapter or review for an hour and afterwards allow myself 10 or 15 minutes to go on social media to refresh my mind and relax. This strategy helps me work more efficiently, and lets me return to my studies with a new outlook.


The next tip goes out to all you music lovers: Create a playlist that will help you concentrate. My preference are songs without words, most often simple rhythms or piano music. I love the Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack and “Trois Etudes de Concert” by Franz Liszt. This type of music is less distracting than lyrical pieces, and works well as background music. Music has been found to help individuals perform better in high-pressure situations and reduce anxiety, which is perfect for these upcoming weeks of the semester. People who listen to music while studying are have better focus and enhanced memory, so while studying for these upcoming exams, put on some tunes and relieve that test-taking anxiety.


Finally, make sure to attend class in the weeks before finals and listen to your professors for tips or tricks to perform better on the exams. It never hurts to ask questions or go to office hours if you need extra help—it’s your professor’s job to help you learn! Take notes, study them, and rewrite them over again: repetition has been shown to help you retain information. Try to avoid all-nighters; instead, study a few days or even weeks ahead of the exam so you don’t feel pressured or stressed during the final week of the semester. Take it easy, find what works for you, and good luck!


Finally, always remember that as long as you give it your best effort, the result will take care of itself. Your life isn’t over if you don’t get an A, or if one of your friends gets a better grade—a letter does not define who you are. School and education are so important, but many people neglect their mental health while studying for exams or completing assignments. If you ever feel fatigued or incapable of staying up late to finish a last minute project, listen to your body because it knows what you need. Practice the tips above to ensure that your mind is prepared and healthy for any upcoming exam, assignment, or project!


Hailey Foster, 19,  is a rising sophomore studying journalism and media at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She loves to watch old Hollywood movies in her free time, especially Breakfast at Tiffany's, her favorite and go-to.


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