Finals Tips For Former Straight-A Students

Finals season is notoriously the most chaotic period of the school year. Whether you’re a straight-A student or you’ve barely made it to class all semester, this time can be overwhelming. Personally, I struggle with exam season in particular. I was the type of student who never had to study to get an A in high school. When I started university, I had to train myself how to study effectively. It’s been a trial and error of numerous strategies I’ve taken from friends, professors, and online. In my two and a half years of being a university student, I’ve compiled several tips that work for me and may work for you too! 


1. Just Do It

Not only is it the famous Nike slogan, it’s excellent advice for finals. I often find the hardest part is starting, sitting down and delving into the material. If you’re writing an essay, re-read your sources and create a plan. Just start writing, even if it’s not your best work. I’ve found that just starting to write can generate ideas. 


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2. Give Yourself Breaks

Don’t feel bad if you need to get up and take a few breaks while studying. Try and go for a walk and stretch your legs, or watch an episode of your favourite show. Having a short amount of time to rest your brain will help you re-charge and regain the energy needed to complete all of your studying. 


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3. Study In Groups

I study philosophy, which is known to be a social field. My professors encouraged us to discuss the material and bounce ideas off each other. I’ve found this to be useful in classes outside of philosophy as well. As a generally introverted person, I resented the idea of studying in a group at first, but it can be extremely helpful. It’s beneficial to talk out concepts you might have trouble grasping. Plus, it’s always great to make friends who are in your program and have like-minded interests!


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4. Nourish Yourself

It’s easy to fall into the trap of consuming coffee 24/7 to energize yourself, but your body still needs nutritious foods. Make sure you’re eating wholesome meals to fuel your brain and consider buying some energizing snacks, such as almonds, dark chocolate, or fresh fruit. 

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5. Plan, Plan, Plan

It sounds obvious, yet it is vital to plan everything when it comes to finals. My planner allows me to plan my day down to every half hour, so I’ve found designating a general time to study certain material or work on an essay is helpful. Planning everything meticulously doesn’t always work for me because I feel too confined to a schedule, but I’ve noticed that loosely planning what I’m going to study and when is helpful. 


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6. Set Goals

When you sit down to study, try to have a few goals in mind. These can be incredibly small, such as writing a certain amount of words or going over a few classes worth of material. Setting little goals will help you feel more confident when you complete them, and you will be getting work done along the way!


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Happy studying!