7 Tips to Maximize Your Finals Study Time

College students: we are SO close. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining through. The end of the semester is almost here, but we all know the last week of classes followed by a week of final exams is the true test of our stamina as students. Final projects, final papers, final exams — it really is the final countdown. 

But, with all of these tasks to do and only so much time to do them all before the end of the semester (or maybe even graduation), it can be a little difficult to find ways to effectively study while you're on a time crunch. 

Here are 7 tips that will help you stay on task, be productive and maximize your time as you hit the books for finals week.


Start early

The early bird gets the worm, or, in this case, the early student gets the "A." When it comes to studying for finals, the last position you want to find yourself in is cramming for huge tests in every single one of your classes two days before the exam (information overload). Since most finals are cumulative, do yourself a favor and start looking over the material from the beginning of the semester EARLY so you have time to ask questions if you have any and make sure it is all fresh in your mind before exam time.

Use a flashcard app

There's an app for almost anything these days, and studying is no exception. Quizlet, Flashcardlet and many others make studying on the go as easy as pie. Once you download the app, all you have to do is create your deck of flashcards, and you can study from your phone or computer. These apps come in handy when you are walking across campus to class or waiting in line at Starbucks for your coffee and have a few minutes to kill.

Make to-do lists

To-do lists are a HUGE productivity hack. You never really realize how productive you can be in such a short amount of time until you write it all down and check it off as you finish each task. Not to mention, putting it all down on paper helps make sure you don't let anything accidentally slip your mind during the stress of finals week.

Phone a friend

Find a study buddy! Studying with a friend or in a small group can be extra helpful because not only are you able to combine social hour with study hour, you can also learn from your peers and ask them any questions that you may have lingering. 

Use a flow chart

Creating charts and diagrams to organize your information can help you visualize how the information works together. If you are a visual learner, this one is especially for you. By writing out all the information you need to remember in an organized, simple way, you are much more likely to be able to remember the important stuff come exam time rather than if you were to just read straight from your textbook (yawn). 

Talk it out

Kind of like studying with a group, sometimes talking out solutions to problems and bouncing around ideas with another person can help you get a better grasp on the concept rather than if you were trying to sort through the information in your head. Grab a friend, go for a walk, and have an engaging conversation about your biology final (what could be better?)

Make outlines

Instead of spending HOURS reading chapter after chapter in your textbook, try to just skim the important parts and write down the general information in an outline format. This outline can act as a "study cheat sheet" when you have a spare second to look over some notes. This way you can get a brief overview without having to spend hours reading word for word from a book with font size 10.


We have made it this far, and we are in the home stretch. This means productivity is key these next few weeks. Try to use one of these seven tips in your studying strategy this semester to keep yourself on top of it and sane as the year comes to an end. However, rest assured: summer break will be here before we know it!