Study Tips to Get You Through the End of the Semester

As we near the end of May, many of us are approaching the dreaded end-of-semester finals. This is a stressful time for all, and the addition of online exams presents a new set of struggles. But don’t fret! With these tips (and a little luck), you’ll conquer your finals in no time! 

Although it can be very tempting to reread and rewatch lectures, a study by American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education found that this is an inefficient way to study. Instead, you should find techniques that focus on recalling information. Here are three useful methods:

#1: Flashcards

Tried and true, flashcards can be helpful for memorizing key terms and definitions. I like to color code my flashcards based on which unit/subjects they reference from class. For example, while taking my Introduction to the Near East class this semester, I highlighted my flashcards in a different color for each country we studied. This is a helpful way for your brain to make connections across course content! To keep you on track with your studying, have someone test you on your flashcards. 

Woman studying photos

#2: Posters

Since I’m a visual person, I love seeing all the information right in front of me. As a result, I tend to make posters for my exams by taping four pieces of lined paper together to create a rectangle, but you can also buy a trifold poster if you want to be fancy. Then, I use different colored pens for each topic to write out various material from lectures, study guides, and readings. This strategy is especially helpful if you have a course that focuses less on key terms and more on difficult conceptual topics. It also allows you to draw out common themes across topics.

For example, when taking an Introduction to Environmental Science course, I underlined all the main problems the course presented in red and was able to see how these problems were connected across various topics from lecture! This strategy also works well if you have a large white board. For an extra umph, give a “presentation” of your poster to yourself or to your family members!

Female software engineer

#3: Instagram Lives

One of the best ways to study a topic is to teach it to someone else. Who better to teach than your Instagram followers? I usually start an Instagram Live, look at the lecture slides, and pretend to give the lecture as if I were my professor! Although slightly embarrassing, this can be a really fun method, especially if your friends hop on and blast the comment section! If you don’t want to turn your account into a study session, try using your “finsta” account or opening a Zoom meeting by yourself.

Everyone studies differently, so don’t stress if these strategies aren’t right for you! As long as you're doing your best, you are enough! This has been a particularly difficult semester for students worldwide. If you don’t finish with a perfect 4.0 GPA, no one worthwhile will look at you differently. Good luck, and you’ve got this!