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These Finals Study Tips From College Students Will Help You Ace Your Exams

There’s a reason students refer to themselves as surviving — not thriving — during finals week. Cue the crowded libraries filled with late-night studiers, the suddenly unavailable professors, the crises in the dining hall over Quizlet, and the dreariness of the entire era called finals. Sometimes, you’re in need of study tips that’ll help you cut through all the noise.

It’s statistically significant how scary final tests are. Lots of finals are worth something like 20%  percent of your grade or more, which is incredibly anxiety-inducing for most students. Add in a hot dosage of burnout and the simmering pressure to do well, and you’ve got circumstances that aren’t the most conducive to success. Whether it’s a paper, a test, or even just a plethora of quizzes, this time of year can cause panic, and reaffirms the importance of collecting strong study habits and hacks

But it doesn’t have to be a total mess. Without further ado, here are five study hacks from college students across the country.

Repetition Is Key.

“It may seem tedious to rewrite important facts and definitions over and over again, but it will help the information stick in your brain,” Jill Schuck, a senior at Trinity College, says. “Aside from rewriting, Quizlet has definitely saved my life on more than one occasion (especially the matching game). Who says you can’t make studying fun?” 

Give Yourself Breaks.

Occidental College senior Madison Bluth says, “I let myself have a ‘reward’ or break after a while. I like to grind out big assignments, and then take an hour … and return to work after.”

Create A System.

“If I’m having to remember systems of things or even processes, I’ll create an acronym,” Hannah Tolley, a senior at Florida State University, says. “I try to memorize things by relating them to things in my life or try to find a similarity in their definition to something that I can remember.” Tolley also uses color-coding in her studying. “Yellow [is] definitions, blue [is] dates/people, and orange [is] important things.”

Record yourself And Play it back.

“For me, I’ve found that hearing myself explain the material instead of reading it gives my brain more time to process the dense content, and therefore, absorb the material better over time,” says Alicia Casey, a CSULB senior. “Personally, I will reserve what I call my ‘listen back’ study technique for those hard-to-grasp course concepts that I feel like I need a little extra support and TLC on to fully understand.”

Talk It Through With Others.

Barnard College freshman Inica Kostasthane says, “For abstract concepts, I try to find Quizlets online for memorization, and I talk through stuff with people around me, whether that’s a classmate, my roommate, or my friends.”

Maddie Solomon is a writer for Her Campus, where she reports on pop culture, travel and local adventures, national style trends, and more. She is a writer, advocate, and Jewish professional interested more broadly in community building, social justice, and civil rights. Maddie graduated from Occidental College in 2021, where she majored in Political Science with an Education minor. Her work has been published in The Denver Post, Women's Media Center, The Jewish Journal, Persephone's Daughters, amongst other publications. Maddie grew up in Denver, and carries her college experiences in Los Angeles – the land of sunsets, tacos, and oceans. She moved to Boston last summer to explore a new East Coast post-grad life and lives in a Moishe house. In her free time, she enjoys coffee hopping, going to concerts, soul cycle, Shabbat dinner parties and bringing people together, traveling, and exploring Boston with her friends.