It is almost here. The dreaded finals before winter break. While it can seem stressful, don’t wait for it to hit you like a Mack truck. If you are proactive starting now, you can not only manage these finals, but ace them! Here are some hot tips to get you started.
End of semester
- Just get started. Don’t wait until you feel like studying.
- Create a master to-do list and a schedule for the remaining days in the semester. Break cumulative exams into smaller study units, which will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and help you monitor your progress daily.
- Review your notes daily from now until the exam.
- Identify the format of the exam. Vary your study technique according to the type of exam.
- Predict possible questions. Review old tests, study guides or the course objectives.
- Answer questions you didn’t know the first time. If the exam is cumulative and you struggled to master any material, return to it.
- Meet with the professor,or a tutor if it will help.
- Develop summary sheets for each class.
- Link new information to things you already know. Forming these associations will help you retrieve information later.
- Check the front of your textbook to see if the publisher provides any online study aids.
- Set specific measurable goals for each study session to keep yourself on track.
- Create mnemonic devices, such as acrostics, rhymes or acronyms, to help you remember information.
- Take short breaks. Your brain can process a limited amount of information and benefits from some rest. Just don’t rest for days.
- Reward yourself with naturally enjoyable activities, such as playing video games or clicking through Facebook.
- Stay healthy. Get some sleep and avoid caffeine. Seriously – your brain with thank you.
- Draw it. Create tables, diagrams, mind maps or pictures to represent and organize the information.
- Explain it aloud. Go into an empty classroom and pretend to teach the material to someone. Using your own words helps you assess your comprehension, which ultimately aids your memory.
- Study in a distraction-reduced environment. Turn off your cell phone, TV and email notifications.
- Identify examples or illustrations that embody the concept and demonstrate ways you will utilize the information.
- Attempt to answer the questions at the end of the chapter in your textbook.
- Quiz yourself. Cover up your notes and try to explain them. Create flashcards. If you find yourself struggling to remember, try different techniques to learn the material.
- Form a study group and develop a practice test together.
- Manage your anxiety. By listen to calming music, stretching or breathing deeply, you can avoid stress and release negative thoughts.
- Cover the material more than you think you will need. When you think you are finished, keep going. The exam questions will be such a relief.
- Stay positive and persist, believing that talent can be developed. You can learn material by working hard, seeking help and using effective strategies.