How to study for Finals

Finals are anxiety inducing because you want to perform your best. How best to study becomes crucial so you can pass a difficult course and capitalize on all your hard work during the semester. Blast Study is a comprehensive study tool designed for information retention and application for test taking, leading to better grades.

According to St. Lawrence University, a great deal comes down to good study habits throughout the duration of the course. If you treat studying like a game, where there is pre-game, game-day, and post-game, you will see developing good study habits as a longer-term process instead of a night-before time crunch. The pre-game is critical:

1. Keep up with your work. If you attend class regularly, keep up with readings, and take notes conscientiously, studying can be a relatively pain-free process. Make sure to review and expand upon class notes regularly throughout the semester. Consider developing a glossary or collection of note cards for vocabulary review in each class. Many students find that preparing for an individual class for 60-90 minutes per day, five or six days per week, will leave them well-prepared at exam time. To assist students with organization at finals time, we have compiled a couple of time management tools that are included with this page.

2. Don’t cram at the last second. Building off our previous entry, try studying for 60-90 minutes per day for a week leading up to an exam. All-nighters simply don’t work for most people, and students experience declining returns on their efforts when they attempt to study for four and five hours straight.”

The article goes on to elaborate on pre-game prep strategies, as well as game-day strategies. Reviewing your performance post-game matters too. Click here to view entire article.

Part of why finals can be so challenging is that they draw upon the entire curriculum of the semester, so information retention and application of that knowledge requires long-term strategy and planning.

According to the Princeton Review, start early with studying, make a game plan like above, and prioritize study for your most difficult classes:

3. Study in this order: a) definitely b) probably c) might be on the final

Don’t just start from the beginning of your notes and try to cram everything in: Think about what you know for sure will be on each test and review that material first. Then move on to studying what will probably be on the test, then what might be covered. That way, if you run out of time, you know you at least have the basics nailed. Ask your teachers if they’ll share copies of previous finals so you can see what might be covered or how questions will be phrased.

4. Give yourself more time to study for your toughest classes.

If chemistry gave you trouble all semester, devote more time to that subject—even if it’s your last final. Look over your previous tests for the year, if you scored poorly on one unit in Spanish, chances are you didn’t absorb it all the first time. Take extra time now to review what you missed. By starting with the toughest stuff first, you have time to ask your teacher questions or get help from our tutors.”

Taking other advance measures too, such as forming a study group and talking out what you are reviewing for the exam matters. Developing study aids, quizzing yourself, and also taking care of your body all matter as prep for the big exam day. Click here to view entire article.

When studying for a final exam, and often multiple final exams with the same week, it is important for you to take care of yourself. According to Shorelight.com, remembering your health can actually help you perform better on final exam week:

“14. Take Breaks

Give your brain and body a chance to refresh so you can approach the material with energy and focus. According to Oxford Learning, “for every 30 minutes you study, take a short 10–15-minute break to recharge. Short study sessions are more effective and help you make the most of your study time.” So, stand up, stretch your legs, and get some fresh air before getting back to the books.

TIP: Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which can give you more energy and better comprehension. A yoga or stretching session can help with concentration and focus.

15. Take Good Care of Yourself

Filling up on junk food to save time is not the smartest strategy for studying. Instead, keep a balanced diet of “brain foods” like fresh fruits and vegetables, balanced with protein and healthy fats to fuel your mind. The same goes for sleep: Plan to get a good night’s rest the night before the exam.

16. Pace Yourself

Cramming in all your studying during finals week can lead to burnout and anxiety. Split the material into topics and review in stages to fully absorb information into real understanding (see tip 11). The night before, write out a few key ideas to look over before the exam.”

Learn how to save time and energy through 21 study tips for final exams. Click here to view entire article.

TeenVogue.com suggests additional strategies for doing well on a final exam. In addition to preparing in advance and taking care of yourself,

“12. Play classical music while you study to concentrate better.

Studies have actually show that listening to classical music a person’s reasoning and intelligence while they are listening to the music (it’s called the Mozart effect). Try it for yourself and see if Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven or Mozart give you a boost!

13. Build up your endurance.

Build up mental endurance by pushing past your comfort zone. Maybe you’re used to learning 10 flashcards every day, but what if you learn 15 instead? This is sort of like increasing the reps on a weights set, except instead of building your biceps, your brain is getting buffer.

14. Use apps to help you.

We generally recommend staying off your phone while studying (distractions!), but here’s permission to make a few more swipes. There are tons of apps out there to optimize your studying, and many are either free or pretty cheap. There are apps to replace graphic calculators, apps that show the periodic table, apps that create paper flashcards and apps that show world maps. If you’re a data junkie, try Study Checker, which tracks your study habits and reveals the trends, so you can see where you can up your efficiency.”

Additionally, learn how to motivate yourself and when to simply relax. Click here to view entire article.

Finals week is like the big game of the season that defines your success for the semester. Going that extra mile with studying will truly count in having the final exam grade that will lead to a good final grade for the course.

Fastweb.com makes many suggestions on what you can do during finals week to take your studying to the next level. Knowing the style and format of the exam and meeting with your professor or TA can give you that edge that makes you best prepared:

“11. Study for the style of exam.

An effective study technique is to practice the exam as it will be delivered. If it’s multiple-choice, you’ll need to know definitions and concepts. For essay exams, focus on your understanding of all the concepts presented, with examples in mind.”

“13. Meet with your professor or TA.

Often times, meeting with an instructor, can give you helpful hints for what to study and ways to prepare for the exam. Consider sending him/her an email to see what the best way to connect is for them. Be prepared for a virtual meeting request this year.

14. Reorganize your notes.

Evaluate and reorganize your notes into what’s important, outlining important concepts, formulas dates and definitions so they’re easy to understand.”

There are ways to make studying fun too, like color coding, visualizing through maps or diagrams, teaching classmates, and creating little rewards for yourself when you hit milestones in your studying plan. Click here to view entire article.

Overall, finals week is the defining time of the semester where you need an advance strategy so you will be prepared. How to study for finals and how to get better at it is achievable by creating your game strategy using these tips and sticking to them. Using Blast Study to help you achieve your test taking goals is taking your game to the next level.

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