1. Self Care is Key
No matter how dedicated you are to studying for finals, you won’t perform well if your body and mind aren’t properly being taken care of. Set up a Self Care Plan for yourself during finals week. Stress is more powerful than you think, so it is important to make sure it doesn’t chew away at your focus. Personally, I like to treat myself to face masks and other little things like healthy snacks, working outside, and study playlists for my Self Care Plan. Find whatever it is you like that will keep your spirits up and your mind alert as you study!
Above all else, sleep should be your number one priority, even during finals. Forget what you’ve been told about getting a good night’s rest the night before your final; you need to be getting several good nights’ rest. Sleeping well only the night before your exam won’t do much if you’ve been running on 9 hours total of sleep for the past few days. Make sure you’re completely well-rested by going to bed early for a few nights before your final.
2. Know your exam
Different types of college exams require different study approaches. Multiple-choice exams mean you must focus on concepts and definitions. Essay exams require you to exhibit a conceptual understanding of the material, so you must be able to identify the context, significance, and even time period of your material. Ask your professor about the format of the exam so you know how to prepare and study!
3. Reach out to your peers!
Don’t let online classes stop you from connecting with your classmates! Now more than ever is it essential for students to work together to understand the course material. Study groups are a great way to trade different strategies and ideas on ways to remember course material. Use the Canvas messaging tool to reach out to your classmates and schedule a Zoom study session!
* Remember that if you can teach the concept to someone else, you’ve mastered it!
4. Attend (and I can not stress this enough) your course’s review session!
Most professors go over the study guide prior to the exam in class. Make sure you are there, and ready with a list of questions about the study guide or outside the study guide so you can fully understand the material that will be on the exam.
5. Don’t rely on the study guide
It sounds bizarre, but the truth is not everything on the study guide will be on the exam. Study guides are simply a guide; they’re only meant to be suggestions of the main concepts to learn. Be sure to fill in the blanks with related information by creating your own study guide and using your own class notes.
6. Repetition is key!
When studying for finals, repetition is key! Give yourself at least 3 days leading up to your exam to fully go over the material each day, so that it will remain fresh and ingrained in your mind when it’s time to show what you know.
Pro Tip: Take frequent, 15-minute breaks between each section of your study material so you can return with a fresh brain that’s ready to retain the next set of information. This will prevent you from getting burnt out from studying, help you maintain focus, and remember information.
7. Test yourself!
The best way to ensure that you’re ready for your exam is to test yourself the same way you will be tested. Use flashcards to prepare for multiple-choice exams, and for an essay format exam, write down every detail you know about the topic(s). Seeing your incorrect answers and writing will give you a clear understanding of what areas you need to continue studying.
8. Don’t wait until the last minute to take your exam!
If you are given a window to take for your final, take it as early as possible! This allows time for you to troubleshoot and contact your professor if there are issues with your exam (technical, environmental, etc.), so your grade isn’t affected.
9. Lastly, have a trial exam.
Sit down at least an hour before the final and go through what I call a “trial exam”, where you ensure that you can properly access the exam by following all the steps you would if it was time to begin the test, without actually starting it.
Follow these four steps:
- Know when and where you will be taking your exam. Choose somewhere that is distraction-free and secluded so that you can have maximum focus. This will also predict how accessible your exam is, which leads me to my next point;
- Ensure your internet connection is working, and make sure you have a backup connection (a second location with wifi, a mobile hotspot) if something goes wrong.
- Most exams are taken through the Respondus Lockdown Browser. Make sure the browser is fully functioning, and if your test isn’t through Lockdown Browser, have a backup browser ready.
- Locate whatever course-related and allowed materials you need for your exam, and make sure they are ready and accessible.
Tips inspired by:
For more information on being a successful online student visit learnanywhere.unt.edu