Finalizing Your Finals Plan

     Finals are here and no matter how many semesters you’ve had in college, they always creep up on you unexpectedly. Having all these exams, essays and projects due at the same time and they can be worth a large percentage of your final class grade can be very stress inducing. Here are six tips to prepare and get the most out of studying for finals. 


Create a Schedule

     Before you even hit the books, print out a calendar and write down the time, date and location of all your exams. If you’re not sure, check the syllabus, college exam schedule online or email the professor. Next, look at your class, work or student organizations schedule to see when you can fit in studying or if you need to request time off to study. Being able to visualize the dates will help you not miss deadlines and study more efficiently. It is also helpful to set an action plan with exact times and an outline of what you will study for a specific subject. 


Set Goals

     This is the time to look at your current grade in the class or calculate it if the professor does not enter it into Canvas. Then go to the course syllabus and see what percentage range you need to be in, to get the final grade in the course you want. I personally like using Rapid Table’s Grade Calculator, and sometimes I find that I only need to get a 50% or higher on the final to get the grade I want in the class. Setting goals can help you prioritize your studying time based on the tests that matter the most to your final grade. 


Gather Your Supplies

     If you’re anything like me, your course notes and previous exams are all over the place. Take the time to get organized in the very beginning, so you do not feel stressed trying to find a specific example while studying. It is also helpful to talk to the professor about what content will be on the test or won’t be, as well as the format. Is it multiple choice, eight long problems or an essay? Be careful with how you word the question because some professors can be annoyed by this question, but it will benefit you to know how to study and what parts to focus on. 


Build a Working Environment 

     By now, you should know what studying tactics work for you. For me, I am very productive when I go to coffee shops because I like having the background noise. Others need total silence and a few can effectively study in their bedroom. Get rid of things that distract you, whether that be putting your phone on silent or opting out of studying with all your closest friends. I’ve found that study groups are really beneficial for my math and science classes, so know which classes may be helpful for you to study with your classmates. 


Practice Active Reading

     A key part of studying for finals is reading. Whether that be re-reading old notes, catching up on a lecture you missed or looking at old exam corrections, reading is crucial. It can also get very tiring, especially if you’ve been studying for hours over the course of multiple days. Try to annotate your notes, rewrite key theorems, create practice tests from your lectures or even read outloud. This makes your eyes connect with other senses and focus on key points. 


Reward Yourself 

      After each exam, reward yourself. It can be something little like getting Starbucks, laying by the pool or watching a movie. Set the rewards when you make your goals, so you have something to look forward to. These little rewards also serve as a necessary break in studying to destress and relax. You can also set small rewards for yourself throughout the studying process like setting a timer to watch TikTok for 10 minutes after finishing a lecture outline. 


     Studying can be a very time consuming task, but know the end reward can be worth it. Make sure to take the breaks your body and mind need, whether that be sleeping (please sleep) or treating yourself to a latte. Trust that yourself that you can put the work in and you can reach your goals.