How to Prepare For Final Exams

How to Prepare For Final Exams

The end of April means that the end of Spring Semester is approaching and of course the final exams are around the corner. Certainly, they are stressful but there is also a way you can showcase the skills and knowledge you acquired during the semester. Preparation is key to passing your final exams. In this article you’ll find tips on how to prepare for your major tests.

  1. Become involved from day one

Keeping ahead in all readings and assignments throughout your semester will help you minimize the time you will need to prepare for the final exams. Attending classes punctually and regularly also helps because borrowing your friends’ notes will never compare to being consistently present.

  1. Study Smart

For each subject, make a list of course materials and chapters you have covered in the course. Consider how each chapter was difficult for you and write your evaluation next to it using labels such as easy, extremely difficult, and somewhat difficult. This will help you determine how much time you need to spend on each chapter or area. It is advisable to study the difficult parts first in order to have more time to tackle difficult areas you may need help with before the exams.

  1. Study with a friend or groups

Early on in the semester, approach classmates with the idea of forming a study group. It is ideal to have at least three people in case one person backs out, but not more than five since larger groups often turn difficult to coordinate. Organize your study groups by doing a few practice sessions early to go over class notes and areas that should be covered. Everyone in your study group will feel ahead of the game with an early start. Knowing that study group members depend on each other is a great method for reducing stress and increasing your motivation to study. In the case of FNU courses and programs that can be fully completed online, you can use the course forums to organize and coordinate study groups.

  1. Start Early, Don’t Cram

Do yourself a huge favor and make a habit of start studying early on in the semester. Spend at least one hour per week reviewing class notes. Highlight all the areas that are important, and look back at the syllabus to narrow down the key areas you’ll need to get a handle on. By simply going over all your class notes, you’ll get a good overview of the specific areas you should start studying. This will also provide your mind with a good summary of everything you’ve been learning this semester.

  1. Make a Plan and Stick to It.

Make a commitment to spend at least an hour a week per class to focus on the final exam. By setting aside enough time now, you will be preparing your mind for the final exam and everything else that is ahead. If you come across material that you have questions about you will have plenty of time to get answers from your instructors. By reviewing early and often, you’ll simultaneously prepare for finals and midterms.

  1. Spend Time Studying for the Tests that Matter Most.

Not all final exams and papers are weighed the same. Take a look at the syllabus of each course you are taking and assess how you are doing overall in that course. Make sure you know what percentage each paper or final exam is worth to your grade. This will give you some perspective on how much time you should designate studying for each class. Final exams are not always deal-breaker elements of a course; in fact, some instructors prefer to assign the same weight to all tests so that students do not feel overwhelmed towards the end.

  1. Take Appropriate Care of Your Health.

It is extremely important to maintain good health in order to do your best in school. Exercise regularly and set aside time to take breaks from studying and working. Eat healthy foods to keep you energized and focused. Stick to a regular sleep schedule; this is particularly important in the days and weeks preceding finals week. Pulling all-night study sessions can easily result in low grades because being tired will significantly affect your attention and comprehension. Make it a point to relax with friends regularly and participate in non-academic activities to avoid getting burned out.

  1. Respect Your Personal Habits and Abilities.

What do you have to do to be your best? This may involve several aspects:

  • What time of day are you more focused? If you are bright and fresh in the morning, then this is the best time for you to study. However, if you are a night owl and find more energy after dinner, this is when your brain is ripe to soak up information. Respect how your body clock works and use it to your advantage when studying.
  • How much studying do you really need to master the material? Do you start to zone out when study sessions last more than two or three hours? If this is the case, schedule more frequent sessions that last shorter amounts of time. However, if you do your best and really get rolling after an hour or so, schedule a whole day away from other distractions so you can concentrate in full and progress.
  • Do you study best alone or with a group? By testing yourself or simply re-reading the material? Try various methods and see how they work for you, then be sure to stick to them in order to really do your best.
  1. Don’t Stress.

Rather than being worried and stressed, be proactive and calm. Plan well, structure your time appropriately and believe in yourself. Take care of problems you can handle right away; for example, if you find that your budget can no longer accommodate tuition, you may want to look into the financial aid opportunities offered by your institution. When you have difficult moments, take a walk or breathe deeply. Take a catnap to refresh or relax with a cup of tea and a good book. Remember that feeling calm and centered will allow you to bring out your best for the final exam.

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