How to Ace Your Finals

With the end of the semester in near sight for many, the time has come to start thinking about finals. While finals provide immeasurable relief once completed, the road to get there is oftentimes stressful and nerve-wracking. However, the important thing is to have a plan and not freak out when preparing. Follow these five tips, and you’ll be ready to ace those upcoming finals!

  1. 1. Study Smarter 

    The first tip is all about studying smarter. By studying smarter, I mean to learn productively and to make sure you’re reaching your fullest potential when studying. To do this, students should study in segments, not cram all at once. For example, studying for 30 minutes to an hour each day before your exam will be more beneficial than absorbing material for 3 hours the night before. Then, you have time to retain information and to go over it again if needed. Longer studying periods can be less productive as you grow more tired and distracted as the length of time studying increases. It’s best to prepare ahead of time and to break down studying into smaller parts at a time.

  2. 2. Find a Study Partner 

    It’s always recommended to find a study buddy when going over the material. If you’re an out-loud thinker, it’s a perfect way to communicate notes and thoughts while also engaging with the material. Study buddies can help each other prepare for finals by explaining things to one another as well as sharing possible study techniques appropriate for that specific class. It’s also so easy to meet up with someone in today’s world. Whether it’s a friend, roommate, tutor, or relative, you can meet in-person or online simply through programs like Facetime or Zoom.

  3. 3. Limit Distractions

    If you’re anything like me, it’s a constant struggle to not look at your phone while studying. In a world full of notifications galore and frequent updates, it seems as if our phones are always active. It’s best to just silence phones and put them in a faraway room when studying. When you’re looking over material for finals, you want to focus solely on the material so you can comprehend as much as possible. The same can be said with televisions. A nice quiet, calm, and comfortable study environment is what is needed for focus and concentration.

  4. 4. Ask Questions 

    The best and obvious thing to do when you’re confused is to ask questions. While it may seem a little intimidating, the best option is to ask your question directly to your professor. Whether you stay a few minutes late after class or attend office hours, asking can make all the difference. A simple question can clear up confusion. Questions can also be directed to tutors on your campus or perhaps friends or roommates knowledgeable in that specific area. A quote from Oprah Winfrey captures this tip perfectly: “Ask the right questions, and the answers will always reveal themselves.” I have found this to be proven true.

  5. 5. Take a Break 

    Perhaps the most important on the list, taking a break is key to studying for finals. With the end of the semester so close, it can be tempting to try and cram as hard as possible before finals. But that is just going to hurt you in the long run. The best way is to break studying into sections and to take breaks once that time is over. Professors have told me to study or write an essay (whichever format your final might be) and then to walk away and take a break. Whether it’s simply going for a walk or grabbing something to eat or drink, taking a break is key to having the right headspace when preparing. It helps you focus more and can better time management. Looking at something with fresh eyes and a new perspective is efficient and helpful.

While finals may seem like this big, stressful event, the key remains in breaking down tasks and doing your best to prepare. Follow these tips as a guide to making the most of your time. Good luck and happy studying!