Posts Tagged ‘studying for finals’

Tips for Studying for Finals

Categories: College Life

Even though the dreaded college finals have arrived, you can take comfort in the fact that all your friends are going through or have gone through the same thing. Here are some tried and true tips for studying for finals:

Start early

Obviously. Start studying as early as possible. All the work will pile up at the end of the semester and if you start reviewing your work early, you will put yourself in a much better position come crunch time.

Make a study guide

Make a study guide for your final. Maybe go to the library with a couple friends from your class who you know are good in the class. Pool your notes and come up with a comprehensive study guide. Four or five hours spent together coming up with a great guide will save you hours of misery in the long term.


Here’s a little secret: Once you have your study guide, if you have friends taking multiple classes together, trade your guide for theirs. If you trust their work, this can be a great way of cutting down on time spent making guides for multiple classes. Or if you had a friend take the class a semester earlier, ask them for their guide. Also to be more thorough in the same class, trade study guides with other people in the class. Read through these guides constantly wherever you go whenever you have downtime.

Find old exams

Often times, classes will make available old exams from previous years. Study these exams as much as possible. Many times, professors will recycle questions or just slightly tweak them. These also will give you an idea of what type of questions you should be expecting.

Some schools will bar you from studying from old exams and consider reviewing old exams to be academically dishonest. Other schools have professors who tell you how to find said exams. So know your school’s policies before doing this.

Go to study sessions!

This is the best thing you can do! If your class offers an extra study group session for the final exam, go to this. This session, often led by your Graduate Student Instructor/Teaching Assistant (GSI or TA depending on the school), will be a great way to find out what to expect on the test. Your GSI/TA is often the person grading your exam so this will be a great way to find out what the expectations are for your level of work.

When you’re done, use your free time to search for some scholarships!

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4 Ways College and High School Students Can Avoid Procrastinating During Finals

laptopFinals week on campus means students start doing really strange things–sleeping in library cubicles, drinking copious amounts of terrible tasting energy drinks, and procrastinating with things they would’ve never thought twice about before final season hit, like say, generously offering up 3 hours of your time to organize a friend of a friend’s Star Wars action figure collection.

Look, it happens to the best of us.  And we know from experience that procrastination is your worst enemy when it comes to finals. So here are some tips to help keep you from procrastinating so you can stay on top of your studying:

1. Make a list and create a schedule
Finals is the most annoying time of the school year because everybody and their mom is citing off all the insane workloads they have to do in a rapidly approaching deadline.  It’s like a campus-wide game of one-upping:

“I’ve got three 7-pagers and 14 short stories I have to write in the next hour.”

“Oh that’s funny, because I have to somehow get in an interview with the leader of the free world, edit the footage, and produce the greatest social commentary of our generation in the next 5 minutes.”

Instead of just blabbing your list of to-do’s off to anybody who’ll listen, actually write it down. Taking the time to write out your list will help you visualize the amount of work you have. Estimating how much time each task will take will help you distribute your time more effectively.

2. Start with the thing you fear the most
We know you’re not looking forward to the 25 page research paper on how disease is portrayed in 20th century opera–or maybe you are–either way, whatever the assignment is that you have the most anxiety about, that’s the one you should get done first.  It’s kinda like a nightmare–you get it over with by the time you wake up, and then you’re off to conquer the day! If you avoid the work you fear the most until the end, chances are you won’t have the time or the energy to fully complete it….let alone get the grade you were hoping for.

3. Get off Facebook
Do it. Deactivate your account.  We all know the real culprit behind this nationwide college procrastination! Why would you want to spend 4 hours studying biochem when you could spend 2 of those hours learning about your ex-boyfriend’s camping trip and the other 2 about his new girlfriend. We love our social networking addiction as much as the next guy, but it’s definitely a roadblock when it comes to studying.  Plus, you can always reactivate your account as soon as the last final is over.

4. Treat yourself
At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs who can be conditioned to do just about anything as long as there’s a yummy treat waiting at the end. Motivate yourself with something you know you’ll forward to, like ice cream, 30 minutes of your favorite television show, or a nail polish change. Little pick-me-ups through your long study days will give you the breaks you need and keep you from procrastinating.

Do you have any other tips? Comment and share!