Final Exams: Study Tips and How To’s

Now that Prom and Easter break are things of the past, the Ursuline calendar yields no more days off until May 31. The only thing standing between every Ursuline girl and summer is finals. The only way out is a concussion, so it is time to buckle down and recall everything from January to now. Here’s how.

Instead of giving you a long list that is ill-explained, we are going to take this section by section, just like you would for studying. Since I’m not giving you a list, you need to make one. The easiest way to make sure you have enough time to study and get a decent amount of sleep is planning it all out. You need to know what classes you have finals in, and what classes require projects. You need to focus yourself and prioritize. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the goal of boosting your grade in a class with a final is not easily attainable. Finals are never that easy. Final projects, however, can be big grade boosters. Overall, just have a plan of what you need to do and how to do it, and prioritize what matters.

Once you have created an action plan, gather and clarify any and all content for your exams. Nothing is worse than finally sitting down to study and realizing you do not have the materials you need. Not knowing what you need to study leads to endless hours in the library trying to figure it out. The most effective studying and learning happens in short, concentrated bursts, so making a checklist will insure you do not bite off more than you can chew. For example, study for 30 minutes straight with no distractions, and then take a break to eat a snack or check your phone. If you can get through a few short study sessions, you will leave feeling more accomplished verses being stressed over the information you didn’t get to.

Now that all the pre-studying is done, let’s talk about the process. Remove all distractions. Period. If I can get through writing this article without checking my phone and social medias, you can get through a short study session. Checking your phone or distracting yourself in any way during studying is too much multitasking, and our brains just cannot handle that. When you have set a time to study, it is time to do that, and only that. You will be able so much more work, much more efficiently.

Another big part of studying is reading. This is when you finally read that chapter you skipped, re-read the section you feel most uncomfortable with, or read the notes you took a few months ago. Often, I enter a trance when I read for long incriminates of time. You can avoid that by reading out loud. Given, if you are in public, you may get some confused looks from others, so just whisper it to yourself. Reading can get very redundant and boring, so it is important you do everything you can to retain what you are reading.

Lastly, and most importantly, you need to know how to stop studying. Within 12 hours before the test, it is time to stop. The night before a test at 12 a.m. is when you do not start studying, you start cramming. You are not going to learn a lot of new content, and you are likely to stress yourself our more than understand the material. If worst really comes to worst, flashcards are the best last-minute study tool. They can earn you a few more points, and they are much more efficient than starting on page one of the text book.

And the most important tip of all, get some sleep. Eight hours is ideal for the night before an exam. In the end, however, do not stress yourself out too much. Grades are not everything, as long as you work hard and do your best, your test scores will reflect it.

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