Tips for Planning Your Finals Study Sessions

Every semester without fail, presumably since my first baby final in kindergarten, finals season sneaks up on me. One minute we're two months out and two days later it's a week before the end of classes. Here are some quick tips on planning your finals studying so that you can be fully prepared to maintain (or save) your GPA. 


1. Start early

Earlier than you think. You should be starting like an entire month before finals. That’s now. Terrifying isn’t it? But the worst thing that can come of starting too early is being prepared for your finals too early, which is significantly better than the things that come of starting too late.   

2. Determine the grade you need on each of your finals

I would love to say that putting your all into every final is the best practice and one I participate in, but sometimes it isn’t realistic. What I typically do is use an online calculator to figure out the grade that will make sure I achieve or maintain my goal average in the class, whether that be an A or a passing grade.

3. Budget for how much time you need to achieve those grades

From there it’s easy to prioritize your classes. If you need a high A on a final in order to pass one course and a high C to pass another, you can choose to dedicate more effort to the goals that seem more time-consuming.

4. Create a study schedule

After you know how much time you want to spend studying a particular subject, work backwards from the day of the final to determine your starting date. I would also recommend assigning specific tasks to specific dates. It’s much harder to skip a study session if you know it’s going to leave you a day behind schedule. I usually use my syllabus to pre-determine areas I need to study from each day. Now all that’s left is sticking to the schedule, which is honestly a whole other article.