Updated: Feb 26
Final exams week is infamously known at colleges all around the world to be a stressful time. Professors can expect their students to retain all the information from the semester and apply it during one exam, which is also often a majority of the grade. All of the exams for the courses are periodically spread throughout the week, which may make many students panic that they will not have enough time to prepare. However, with proper planning and healthy habits against cramming, students can ensure a high grade without too much stress!
The first and most important tip is to plan ahead. Over time, students can find themselves procrastinating more and more when it comes to studying. This can be because in the face of such a huge task, people can get easily overwhelmed and will choose to not complete the task entirely. However, remember that the earlier you start, the less you will have to stress and cram. Divide your chapters or modules by the number of days you have left, and dedicate a specified hour everyday for that class. Remember to review previous information with each time you study to test your brain on your memorization skills and retain more information.
Another way to prepare for final exams is to use online resources such as Quizlet or other course materials your professor has provided for you. By taking practice tests that have to do with your course, you will be able to evaluate how you might apply the class material you have learned into ways that your professor is most likely going to test you. This way, you will be able to train your brain in a way that will be most beneficial for the exam.
If you have been cramming already and are reading this article by the time you think it is “too late”, do not worry! There is a lot more you can do to make up for lost time. For starters, make an outline of all the objectives you have learned this semester. Highlight the ones you are not completely confident in, and start by studying those sections. If you have time left over by the time final exams come by, go back to the other objectives you were more confident in and make sure you know everything about that subject!
Studying repetitive information for a long time can cause your brain to burn out by the end. That is why giving yourself rewards and practicing self care is important! Treat yourself for finishing a particularly difficult module, or put on a face mask while reviewing your notes. By feeling good about yourself and practicing wellness, you can ensure that your mind stays in a positive, sane state instead of progressively putting more and more stress on yourself. For most students, it is their own self that puts the most pressure on them than the exam does. Trust yourself that you will be able to do well, and that you in the future will know exactly everything you need by the time exams come around!
The night before an exam, the most important thing is to get at least eight hours of sleep, not cram and pull an all-nighter. Your sleep is much more important in making sure your mind is prepared in the morning, than the little tidbits of information you will fit in at that time, so be sure you do everything you can to prevent yourself from becoming so far behind that you feel the need to stay up all night. Drink lots of water and in the morning, make yourself a healthy breakfast. Try to refrain from consuming any caffeine and if possible, get some yoga or meditative exercises in!
During the exam, remember to keep your cool and do not stress over the questions. Skip any questions that you will have to think longer than a minute, and come back to them later at the end of the test. Be sure to take occasional water breaks and keep your hands from cramping up. A big part of the exam is being confident that you know the material, so finish the exam with an expectation that you grade will come out much better than you might think!
After the exam, it is normal for one to question him or herself and progressively feel unconfident in their answers. To make sure you do not spiral into a state of confusion and anxiety, remember that stressing over the past will not change anything! By prioritizing your time, practicing successful study methods, and taking each exam one by one, you can rest assured the grade will take care of itself. Remember to reward yourself after your exams; it is finally time for a well-deserved break, so don’t start it off stressing too much about how you did! I believe in you CWIB! Good luck on all your finals!