Whether it’s your first ever finals week or you’re a seasoned student looking to prime yourself for end of semester exams, there are various ways in which you can optimize your study sessions.
Although it may be common to pull all-nighters or stay up late preparing for finals, one of the best things you can do for yourself during finals week is to stay well rested and take breaks. Fatigue from long study sessions and late nights can have adverse effects when preparing for test day. There’s a lot of information out there about effective study tips for college students. But one thing to keep in mind is that everyone learns differently. Take these study tips as general guidelines to help find the best means for effective study sessions.
Attend Review Sessions
If you get can, attend as many review sessions as possible. These sessions are a great way for you to gauge what concepts may be on the exam as well as the exam format and how you should focus your study sessions for that course.
Try Explaining Key Concepts
Grab a friend or your roommate to explain key concepts to. It may sound silly, but explaining something to someone else can help you gain clarity on what you need to work on and what concepts you already have down.
If you don’t need the internet, try shutting down your computer or just your Wifi for your allotted study time so you can completely focus. Find a quiet place and avoid distractions in the background like a roommate with the TV on. Music helps some people study, while distracting others. Try to figure out whether it works for you and if it does, stick to music you already know that will keep you focused rather than distracting you.
Prioritize Study Time
Have a plan for what you you’ll study, when you study, where you study, and stick to it. If you’re struggling in a particular class, it’s ok to prioritize studying for it over another course or to prioritize an exam that is worth more of your grade than others.
Color Code Your Notes
For those that are visual learners (and even those who aren’t) it can be helpful to color code your notes with different highlighters to differentiate facts or key topics. This tool can also be used to prioritize information that is important, or not, for the exam.
Keep Good Notes
Though it may be tempting to spend all class on Facebook, keep yourself focused with a solid note-taking technique. Spend a few minutes before class each week reviewing notes from last week. Studying in shorter bursts over a longer period of time can help you retain information better. This tip may not be helpful when you’re deep in the trenches of final week, but keep it in mind next semester to help you avoid overwhelm.
Know the Format
It’s really helpful to know the format of the exam (which is why it’s best to attend the review session) so you can vary your study habits depending on how the exam will be administered.
Review Past Tests
Save your work from the entire semester and review what you didn’t do well on. Make sure you master the concepts that you got wrong the first time.
You can learn material by working hard, staying focused, and using effective study tools, so don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone is different and everyone can develop effective study habits, so try a few of these tips and see what works for you!