Finals are a stressful time period for any college student. Many don’t know where to begin when it comes to preparing for finals. Many students wait until the last minute to cram weeks worth of material into an all-nighter. What these students do not know is that they are unable to retain all of the information from a late night study session. While some may have a good memory, they don’t have a full understanding of the material; which can result in poor performance on application-based questions.
Here are a few tips to finish the semester strong and prepare for finals: If you’re an instructor, you may want to share these tips with your students.
Go to your campus tutoring center for course related questions. If there is not an available tutor in that subject matter, ask your professor to set up a meeting.
2. Do not procrastinate or cram.
Set aside time every day to write/review notes, read PowerPoints or the textbook. By doing a little each day, the concepts will be reinforced. Do not wait until the eleventh hour to study.
3. Prepare flashcards.
Use flashcards to reinforce definitions. If the flashcards do not contain important course material, create flashcards for those topics.
4. Complete practice problems.
If your course contains application-based problems, complete brief exercises and problems. This will boost your confidence when given a problem. You never know if you will see a similar problem on an exam!
5. Prepare study guides.
Create your own study guide, even if your professor gives you one. By rewriting information, you will remember what you wrote. Be mindful to also review material not on the study guide. It is just a map, not a full review. In my experience, handwritten study guides help me to better retain the information.
6. Organize a study group.
Sometimes students do not understand a topic when a professor explains it. By developing a study group, another student may be able to explain the course material in a different way.
7. Get creative with your studying.
When reviewing your notes, create acronyms for important topics or associate a topic with something you are passionate about. For example, if you create an acronym with the first letter of each word, there is a better chance you will remember each component. Relate the course material to personal experiences, which will help you remember the concept.
8. Stay motivated.
After you study or do homework for a certain amount of time, reward yourself with a snack or break. Food actually helps your brain focus and improve memory. Since the weather is getting nicer, go outside for a short walk to get some fresh air. Also, do not get discouraged! You can do this!
9. Relax and get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation affects your mind and body. It also affects your learning abilities. Get enough sleep so you can focus and do well on exams! You do not want to be that person who falls asleep during their exam because you stayed up all night studying.
10. Refocus and get organized.
Go to class. Review deadlines. Make a plan as to what assignments you have to complete and for which exams you need to study.
Finals are not meant to be intimidating; however, they are meant to be challenging. Preparation is crucial to success. Take the time to prepare for each final and the time spent studying will pay off. Most importantly, do not give up. Remind yourself that you can accomplish this and remain positive. Good luck!
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