What You Need to Know About Preparing for Final Exams

By Jill Ravae Scherr, Student at Academy of Art University

Even though you probably don't want to hear it, finals will be right around the corner before you know it.

Here are some great tips on what you can do to prepare so you aren't burning the midnight oil and you feel fresh and prepared to ace those exams!

1. Get your priorities straight

You may really want to go to that upcoming campus party that you know the hottie from your English Lit class will be at or check out a new club with your girls, but with finals coming up and the weight of how important they are, you really have to put things into perspective and think about you and your future first. Make a promise to treat yourself to something nice if you do really well on your exams or if you must go to that special event, make sure you aren't the last one to leave and that you are sober enough to come home and hit the books!

2. Keep the pace

If you start the race out too strong, you may fall behind toward the end and if you lag behind too much at the start, your chances of crossing the finish line aren't that promising. What am I referencing, you ask? Think of your studying patterns like running a race — if you prepare yourself well and keep up with your workload and assignments throughout the semester, you won't be overwhelmed by all the material being presented and you have a great shot at doing really well on your exams. You know what they say: Slow and steady wins the race!

3. Atmosphere is everything

At least in this scenario. You want to make sure you have a clean, organized and quiet environment for your studying. It sounds so basic and you hear it all the time, but it really is a big factor in your studying performance. If you are wasting time shuffling papers and telling your roommate to "please keep it down a bit," you are losing valuable time studying when you can be doing other fun stuff (ex: window shopping for your special treat to yourself post-exam or previously mentioned campus party).

4. Find a schedule and stick to it

Everyone functions at a different level and time. You just have to find what works best for you and stick to it. Now if only there could be an adjustment to those early morning classes on campus … then we'd all be set. 🙂 But in all seriousness, try to plan out your study schedule in the most efficient way possible that helps you get your studying done, but still have a life in the process. It's all about balance.

5. Some Extra Things to Consider

Here are some other little helpful hints on what you can do to help study for your exams if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed or need to mix things up a bit to motivate yourself!

-If you can't bear to be alone and need that extra push, find a study buddy who is serious about getting the job done and help quiz each other and prepare for your exams together.

-Keep note cards, practice tests, and previous semester paperwork at your disposal so that it's right there when you need it because that is where your exam is most likely going to originate from.

-It happens to all of us, but try not to cram, because not only does it stress you out, but you lose the information just as fast as you are trying to put it in. You should feel confident and secure and understand the basic outlines of the material presented before you move on to another subject.
Try to get as much sleep as possible to rest your brain and retain all the information you are trying to cram in it (pun intented!). It is so much easier said then done in the crazy college environment, but you really will feel better in the long run when you sit down to take those exams and feel well rested and refreshed … and for those nights that that doesn't happen, be sure to stock up on lots of coffee!

Best of luck to everyone on their exams!


If you are looking for even more studying advice and tips regarding finals, please join our Twitter chat tonight at 9 p.m. ET!

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