It is unfortunately that time of year again for all of us in school. With many of us already taking our exams and some of us having another week or so, I thought it would be appropriate to share some tips on how to study and prepare for your finals while also making sure to take care of yourself in the process. Finals are an incredibly stressful time and it can take a toll on your body mentally and physically. For me, the hardest part is simply just STARTING or rather, knowing WHERE to start. SO here are my 8 or so tips for doing your best!
8 Final Exam Studying Tips
- Make a study plan
The first thing I like to do is make a study plan and get my thoughts together. As I said, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start, especially when you have a lot of material to cover and other exams. I start by just making a really, really simple study outline and map out what I want to do each day of the week to study.
Plan out time to studyOne problem I used to have it this: I’d come up with a great study plan, but then I’d end up just throwing it away because I didn’t manage my time properly. Come up with a plan and STICK TO IT.
Make a QuizletThis is truly a life saver for college students. For almost every test where there’s terms involved, I head straight for Quizlet. They also have an app, so it’s perfect if you’re waiting for a class to start, or waiting to go into an appointment because you can just grab you phone and go through a few terms. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, someone has already made a Quizlet for the exact subject (and maybe class!) that you’re studying, so you should always do a quick search first, just in case.
Make physical flashcardsYou can see which terms you’ve missed frequently on Quizlet, so it’s a great idea to take these terms and transfer them onto physical flashcards. There’s something about writing out definitions that tends to make them stick.
Test yourself and test yourself againQuizlet and physical flashcards are awesome options for testing yourself. It’s really important to keep doing this rather than just staring at a textbook or staring at your notes.
Study with a friendThis usually isn’t the first thing I do because I find that I study better alone. A lot of people think studying in groups is really effective, and I don’t disagree, but I do believe that you should reserve time to study by yourself. That being said, studying with a friend is good because you can talk about the terms and ask them questions if you don’t understand something. If you do decide to study with a friend I suggest you sit down with the study guide and go through the terms and discuss them to see what you really know. Talking about the terms out loud helps to drill them into your brain so you don’t forget them when it comes time for the test!
Avoiding distractionsThis one is hard for me. It’s difficult to focus on something you don’t want to do. But while you’re studying, try your best to avoid people/things that are going to distract you. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb, put in headphones if people keep talking to you, and shut off any extra noise (such as a TV).
Get enough sleepParticularly the night before the test, make sure to get the right amount of sleep! And do not…DO NOT pull all nighters. But all nighters are just ridiculous. I’ve survived college so far without pulling an all nighter and so have most people I know. If you manage your time effectively, you’ll never have to pull an all nighter. It’s much better to be well rested for the test than falling asleep at your desk because you only slept for an hour.
Bonus Health Tips During Finals
- Manage your time well so you don’t become too overwhelmed
- Eat good and wholesome foods! You don’ want to be groggy and even more exhausted than you need to be when it comes to sitting down for that 2 hour exam! Fill your diet with things that will sustain you and not leave you hungry or tired. Here is an article I found on the ’12 best brain foods’ for you to eat before an exam!
- Fit in a workout if you can!! I know working out is probably the last thing you have on your mind during this time, but it seriously makes a difference. Taking this time for yourself will help you feel more at peace and maybe even forget about everything for a while. We also tend to stay in the same place for a long time when we are studying so it’s nice to have a change of scenery. So if you can swing it, take an hour to go outside or to the gym and get your heart rate up and move!
Good luck to all of my kiddos taking finals, we can do this! We are in the final stretch, LITERALLY. Almost Christmas time. YOU GOT THIS!