10 Tips to Help Study for Finals

It’s that time of year again. Final exams are here. There is no doubt by now you are probably stressed out and also wanting to get the semester over with. A lot is happening around you right now. End of the semester events are taking place, last day of classes are happening, putting finishing touches on final papers, finalizing class/group projects, and the list goes on. I don’t want to stress you about everything that needs done, however I do want to give you 10 tips to help you study for final exams.

1.       Determine how much time to devote to studying for each final and stick to that time

What I like to do when I’m stressed is make a list of everything that needs to be accomplished. From that list, I prioritize the level of importance and when the task is due. When you have a lot to do it can be hard to focus. Making a list will help you. If you take the list one step further it may help you to focus even more. Once you have determined what finals you need to study for and when the finals are taking place, create windows of time to study for each final. Be sure and stick to the time allotted. You can set a timer on your phone if you need to. The main goal here is to not be overwhelmed and not to focus all your study time on your chemistry exam and not do well on your other exams.

2.       For each final determine what subject areas you need to study the most

For most of us we have weak areas in a subject. I’m sure there is a quiz you didn’t do well on or a certain topic in the class that you didn’t completely understand. Be sure and focus on the weak areas when studying. Find your prior quizzes and assignments and review the questions you missed. Find the right answers for the missed question and study them.

3.       Use prior tests, quizzes, and assignments as study guides

Most of the time professors are not going to create new questions for the final exam. More than likely they will combine the questions from tests, quizzes, and assignments that you have previously completed. The majority of final exams are focused on reviewing the material covered in the class. Rarely will a professor test you on something new for the final.

4.       Eliminate distractions by distancing yourself from your phone

There are a lot of distractions around us. One major distraction can be your cell phone. I’m easily distracted. I will be working on something and I get a notification on my phone, I check my phone and completely lose my train of thought. It can be so frustrating. Most likely every time a notification pops up, you will lose your focus. Place your phone in your bag or somewhere it won’t be distracting.

5.       Form a study group with other people in your class

Having a study partner or group is always a good idea. Make sure you are in the same class and are studying for the same exam at the time you meet. Studying in a group allows you to quiz one another on questions that may be on the exam. If your professor is generous to give you a study guide, everyone in the group can split up the questions on the study guide and find answers. Also if there is an area in the material that you do not understand, someone in the group may be able to help explain it to you in a different way. Finally, forming a study group holds each of you accountable to study.


6.       Get plenty of sleep

Your body needs sleep period. If you are not well rested, you will have a hard time focusing and recalling what you studied. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “good sleep helps you to think more clearly, remember information, and make decisions.” Another interesting point from the National Sleep Foundation is, “as you sleep, memories are reactivated, connections between brain cells are strengthened, and information is transferred from short to long-term memory.” Make sure to get plenty of sleep.

7.       Do not cram (it is ineffective)

Cramming is ineffective. Most of the time you won’t remember anything you tried to cram. The best approach is to study and review over a certain period of time. This allows the brain to put it to memory and makes it easier to recall. Most of the time cramming only leads to more stress and anxiety.

8.      Don’t rely too much on caffeine because it can inhibit your ability to focus

Some caffeine is good but a lot of caffeine is not good. If you are trying to use caffeine to stay awake for cramming then you have totally missed tip numbers six and seven. According to Today.com, too much caffeine can lead to lack of concentration, anxiety, among other health issues. Be sure to use caffeine moderately.

9.       Take mental breaks to give your brain a rest from studying

Just like in tip number one not only should you schedule when to study but also schedule study breaks. Go for a walk or exercise. Most college campuses have events during finals week where they provide treats and fun activities to help students get through the week. Be sure and check out what your school is doing and add it to your study schedule.

10.   Reward yourself with something fun after you finish your finals

Plan something really fun to look forward to for when you finish your last final. This will help you to stay positive and focused.

I hope you find these tips helpful when studying for your final exams. The most important tip that I can tell you is to finish strong. Persevere to the end. Even though you may be a bit stressed and overwhelmed, you are so close to finishing. Don’t let off the gas now. Keep on going!

I would like to see what study tips work for you. Feel free to share your study tips below. Thanks!