Hi, friends! Finals week is coming up quickly. Most students will shiver at that thought, but never fear! Here are some tips to help you have a successful finals week.
Find out the practical details of each exam.
Will it be cumulative? If not, which chapters will it cover? What format will it be in (multiple choice, essay, short answer…)? How much time will you have? This will give you an idea of what you need to study. There is a good chance this information will be on the class syllabus, but if it isn’t, ask your professor.
Also, make sure you know exactly when and where the exam will take place, since some exams might not take place in the classroom at the normal class time…
Create a plan and write EVERYTHING down…
Now that you know what you need to study, create a plan of attack to cover all those areas. Having a plan prevents any surprises and makes sure you get everything done. Write down this plan so you can refer to it in the future.
…Including the thoughts that distract you.
I tend to get distracted by thinking about what I want to do AFTER finals week. For example, thoughts like, “After finals, I want to bake cookies!”, “What good Christmas movies should I watch?”, or “I should ask my best friend about when she finishes her finals.” distract me. To avoid this distraction, I write down these ideas so that I can get those thoughts out of my head and focus only on studying. If you get distracted by something similar, write it down!
Create a study schedule based on this plan (including eating, sleeping, and hygiene).
Now you can assign dates and times to your plan. Determine what you will study when. (If you feel overwhelmed because you have a lot to study, check out my post on An Organized Approach to Getting a Lot of Work Done). Be sure to include breaks, eating, sleeping, and hygiene into this schedule, because it’s easy to forget about self care when you’re so focused on studying.
Have a “command center”
I’ve noticed that I retain more information when I study in the same spot. Maybe that’s just me, because I like routines (my brain knows it’s study time when I sit down at the library at my desk at home). If you are also like that, do all your studying in the same place, if possible.
Similarly, have a “command center” for all your materials. Have a place for everything, and make the effort to put everything back in its proper place once you are done using it.
Use whatever study techniques work best for you.
It’s officially time to put your plan into action. Hopefully, you know what study techniques work best for you. Make use of them! Use whatever technique helps you form your own understanding of the material. Some studying techniques I would recommend are: flashcards, practice tests, rewriting notes, or teaching someone else.
Finals week doesn’t have to be completely terrifying. You’ve got this! Just be organized, be informed about what’s on the test, and do your best. Good luck!
How do you prepare for finals week?