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Steps to Prepare for Finals

Even though you’re trying not to think too much about it right now, you just can’t deny the fact that finals are right around the corner. Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for your exams and get everything else done.

Start early

Preparing for finals should begin earlier than just the day before the exam. You cannot cram an entire semester’s worth of information into an all-nighter. It’s just not possible. You should plan to start studying a week before to make sure that you know all your information.


You should begin this step by making yourself a schedule of everything that you need to study. Break your schedule down by class, chapters and important topics. This schedule will ensure that you are covering all the right material, and you can review each section every day.


Once you have decided what you need to study and how much time you need to spend studying, it’s time to actually start studying. One of the best ways to do this is to make a sufficient outline. As you read over your textbook and class notes, write a brief summary for each topic. Highlight the areas in your outline that you had the most difficulty understanding. When you are finished, you will have an outline that you can review.

Make Flashcards

This process is similar to outlining. Making flashcards is a really helpful technique for studying. Quizlet is a great tool to use when trying to make flashcards. By writing down the information from your outline, you are already doing half of the studying. Once the flashcards are complete, you will have a pocket sized study packet to look over.

Ask for help

If you are having trouble memorizing something or a particular concept is not sinking in, ask for help from your roommate or a friend before it’s too late. You can even ask your professor for help if you are still having trouble grasping something. Your family can also pitch in and help quiz you with index cards.

Sleep & Stay Hydrated

You need AT LEAST seven hours of sleep at night to be able to function properly. Tests are designed to make you think. If you are sleep deprived, you won’t be able to remember all of the information you worked so hard to cram into your brain. Also, drink plenty of water – soda and caffeine don’t hydrate you and you can end up crashing hard.

Stay Calm

Do not panic on the exam! Even if at first glance the test is overwhelming, just remember to breathe. If a question seems to hard, answer all the questions you know for sure and then go back and answer the ones you were stuck on. Remind yourself that you have studied, that you are prepared.

Don’t rush

You have spent at least a week studying, so what’s another couple of minutes? Work through the exam slowly, and read all the questions carefully before answering them. If you are done before the time is up, look over your answers.

Relax post exam

Don’t let panic overwhelm you. Even if you think you bombed the exam, worrying will not change your score. It may, however, affect your mindset for your next final. Zone out the last test and stay focused on the next one. Odds are, you didn’t do as badly as you thought you did.

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Abby Idisi

Hampton U

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