It’s that time of the year again: finals week. With the end of the semester right around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for the dreaded end of course exams. Finals week, and the weeks leading up to it, can be a hard time for many college students. That’s why it’s important to put together a plan to help you successfully tackle your finals with minimal stress.
One of the best ways to prepare for finals weeks is to develop a study plan ahead of time. Having a plan as you start to get ready for finals will help you stay more organized as your workload starts to increase.
- Don’t forget about exams (know days & times)
When it comes to preparing for final exams, perhaps the most important thing to know is when all of your final exams are scheduled to take place. In some cases, the date and time of the final exam may be different than your normal scheduled class time. It’s important to verify with your instructor when and where your exam will take place.
- Know the Office Hours
Some instructors may offer additional office hours during finals time in order to help students prepare for the exam. It can be beneficial to take advantage of these extra office hours as the instructor might provide you with additional information about the exam. Additionally, your instructor may also offer extra reviews and study sessions. Attending these sessions will help you gain a better understanding of the material that is going to be covered on the exam.
- Have a Study Game Plan (and schedule)
Once you have confirmed the schedule of all of your exams, it’s time to start developing a study game plan. It is important that you have some game plan when it comes to studying, that way you can allow yourself adequate time to prepare for each exam. Some exams may require more preparation than others.
- Begin Studying One Month Before Finals
Cramming for an exam may actually cause a lot more harm than good. To avoid pulling all nighters and last minute cramming, it is a good idea to begin studying at least one month in advance. This will allow you to spread out your study time more evenly over a longer period of time.
- Use Study Guides
Course instructors will often provide study guides prior to the final exam. Some study guides may be more detailed than others, but it is always a good idea to reference these study guides when studying for an exam. These guides will also give you a better idea of what might be covered on the upcoming exam.
- Find a Study Partner
For some students, finding a study partner can be a great way to hold yourself accountable when it comes to studying. A study partner is someone who can help you stay motivated and share resources and knowledge with.
- Take Practice Exams
Perhaps one of the biggest tips to remember when it comes to knowing how to survive finals week is to take as many practice exams as possible. According to SUNY (The State University of New York), “practice testing through the use of flashcards, or taking practice exams was observed to be a highly effective study technique.” If your instructor has provided you with practice questions or materials, it is important to take advantage of these so that you become more familiar with the structure of the exam. If your professor has not provided any specific practice exam materials, it doesn’t hurt to ask! There are also several study apps available to you for free that can help generate practice questions based on your notes and class material.
Finals week, and the weeks leading up to it, can be a stressful and overwhelming time for many students. It is important to remember that mental health is also an important factor when it comes to surviving finals week.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
As redundant as it may sound, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things a person can do for themselves while preparing for an exam. The ideal amount of sleep you need before an exam is at least 8 hours. It may be tempting to try to pull an all-nighter to cram as much information as possible, but in the long-run this will cause more harm than good. All-nighters can actually impair reasoning and memory for as long as four days. Getting a good night’s sleep, and prioritizing your sleep, will help you perform better on exam days. For additional tips on how to create a better sleep schedule, review our Top Tips to a Better Sleep in College.
- Do Cardio
Just 20 minutes of cardio can help to improve your memory. Exercise, in any form, is a good way to increase your energy level and get rid of excess stress.
- Eat Healthy Snacks
Eating a well-balanced breakfast the day of a big exam is always recommended. It is also equally as important to eat a balanced diet the weeks leading up to finals time. Studies have shown that eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables can help improve attention and thinking speed. Eating snacks that are rich in antioxidants can make a significant difference in performance in the long run.
When preparing for finals, it is important to remember that everyone studies and learns differently. In order to be successful on your final exams and survive finals week, it is crucial to make a plan that works best for you based on how you study best.
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