Tips to Study for Finals

Finals week is just around the corner and I don’t know about everyone else but it’s my least favorite time of the semester. I have 4 exams to take and it’s always so overwhelming trying to figure out how to study for all of them at the same time.

So, I put together a list of my favorite study tips that will hopefully help you prepare for next week.

Just start

The first step is to just sit down, get focused, and start! This is sometimes the hardest part, but you can do it! Just get started!

Make a study schedule…and stick to it!

This one is hard for me because of my busy schedule. But if you plan out all of your study sessions, for ALL of your exams, you will be able to see exactly what your work load looks like. I like to make a to do list of all of my work and then decide when I’m going to study for each exam and what I’m planning to focus on during that study session. It’s easier if you break up your cumulative exam materials into smaller study categories then you don’t feel like you have to memorize all of the information at one time. Use your phone calendar or set a reminder so that you can stick to your plan!

Distraction free zone

Turn off your phone, TV, and other notifications so you can focus. Manage your anxiety with calming music and focus on what you need to get done. Make sure you get up and stretch and breathe so you can avoid getting stressed and negative thoughts.

Color code it! (My favorite study method)

Come up with a system to color code what is going to be on your exam and mark what is most important, less important, etc. Then you can focus on what you really need to study and not be as distracted by all the other material.

Reorganize your notes

After color coding everything, I like to reorganize my notes that way I can see only what I need to study. Outline your important concepts, formulas, dates, and definitions so they are in words that are easy for you to understand.

Read it. Write it. Say it.

This method is what helps me the most. First, I go back and read through my notes, then I write down important things over and over until I feel like I can write from memory, then I say it out loud to solidify it in my brain. I am a visual learner so the writing is what helps me more than anything but the repetition is good to help you remember important concepts. This is especially helpful for memorizing definitions.

Quiz yourself

Once you feel you have the important concepts down, quiz yourself. You can do this by making flash cards or simply looking at your notes and asking yourself questions and checking your answers. It can also be helpful if someone else quizzes you so you can’t see the answers!

Explain it to someone

If you need one more method to make sure that you know the information you should try explaining it and teaching it to someone. I do this with some of my friends in my math classes. I know that I have a concept down if I can explain a formula or concept to someone clearly so that they can understand. This also helps to work out any problems that you may be having in completely understanding a formula, if you can talk it through with other classmates it’s easier to remember.

Take five

Pace yourself! Studying for hours on end without a break is counterproductive because you just tire yourself out. Take a break to improve your concentration when you get back to it. Veg out and watch an episode of your favorite TV show then get back on task. Don’t burn yourself out!

Brain food is real

Make sure you’re keeping yourself fed and hydrated so that your brain can keep firing on all cylinders. This will keep you focused and ready to absorb as much information as possible.