So you probably think it's a little early to be talking about finals. Why rush it when you can put off all that final exam anxiety for a few more weeks... right? Wrong. It may not seem like the appealing option right now, but getting a jump start on your final exam studying, or at least the preparation for that studying, can make all the difference in how well you do.
Even so, I'm not going to tell you to crack open the books right this very minute, in the midst of the millions of things you have going on. But I am going to give you a few things to think about for when it is time to study. Consider this a guide for what you need to do a week before your final exams, the night before you final exams, and the morning of your final exams.
A Week Before Your Exam...
- Compile all of your study materials. Grab your syllabus and run through your notes with it quickly to make sure you have all of the topics covered. If you're missing something, find out what and why. Did you miss a class? Was something else on your mind that morning? Figure out what you're missing and then...
- Double check your notes with another student. Ask someone if you can borrow their notes from the class you missed. And offer up yours to them. Other students are one of your best study materials. After all, they're in the same boat as you. Chances are they remember something you don't, and vice versa.
- Make yourself a practice test. Now that you have all of your notes, begin to test your knowledge of them... Before you study. Not only will it give you an idea of how much you'll need to study, but it will also point out your strengths and weaknesses.
- Ask the professor about any points that you're still unclear on. Once you know your weaknesses in the class, determine how you can fix them. Do you just need extra study time or are the concepts unclear? If you're unclear on any concepts, visit your professor during his or her office hours and ask him or her for some help. He or she will appreciate that you care enough to clear it up, and will probably remember that when it comes time to give you a grade.
The Night Before Your Exam...
- Get rid of all of your distractions. Log out of Facebook. Turn off your cell phone. Let your friends know that you won't be available for Skype sessions or dorm room chats. Install a distraction-blocking program on your computer. It's time for serious studying, and that is best achieved without interruptions - digital or otherwise.
- Briefly review all of your study materials. There's some material that you just know: For whatever reason, it just stuck in your mind the first time. So don't waste valuable study time reviewing that same material over and over again. Give all of the material a once over and then...
- Spend your time focusing on the areas in which you have difficulty. Study it until you know it. As many times as you need to. Don't worry about how much time you spend on a particular area. Just worry about making it click in your mind. It will all be worth it when you see that question on the test and don't have a panic attack.
- Get some sleep. All that studying will be completely useless if you fall asleep during the test. So don't try to pull an all nighter. Start early and then head to bed at a decent time.
The Morning Of Your Exam...
- Dress comfortably. You want to be comfortable... but not so comfortable that you fall asleep while taking the test. It's a delicate balance, I'll give you that. Lucky for us, one of our writers has already mastered the finals week wardrobe.
- Don't study the morning of. If you know it, you know it. If you don't, you don't. There's no use trying to fill your brain with last-minute facts that just won't stick. Instead, take the morning off. Have some breakfast and head to the test.
- Get there early. Don't be the person who shows up after the exams have already been passed out. Not only will you disturb everyone else but you'll also lose valuable time.
- Take a deep breath. Relax. Be calm. Let it go. You'll be fine. It's only a final. So don't let the stress get to you. Do your best and then let it be. Just think: By this point, it's almost over.
Even More Final Exam Tips!
Want more exam studying tips and info on how to survive finals week? Check out these vintage CF posts!
- 9 Ways to Stay Sane During Finals Week
- 6 Tips to Beat Final Exam Stress
- What to Wear on Exam Days
- Relax! 4 Ways to Keep End-of-Semester Anxiety to a Minimum
- Treat Yourself Post-Finals: 3 Fun and Relaxing Spa Ideas
What do you think?
How do you prepare for final exams? When do you start studying? Got any study tips? Leave them in the comments below!