When finals roll around, everything besides studying seems appealing. It is easy to find ways to procrastinate, or be completely overwhelmed with the amount of content that must be reviewed before finals dawn. Even though it may be tempting to put studying off until the last minute, consider the tips below to breeze through finals. The key to acing your finals is adequate preparation through good time management, consistency, and productivity.
Prepare ahead of time. It is so easy to wait until the night before your final to begin studying. However, it is much better to study during the weeks and the days leading up to the test. Reviewing information frequently is a smarter strategy than cramming at the last minute. Use the weeks leading up to the test to review difficult material from the course and the week before the test to work on the study guide or create your own study guide from the course content in order to have focused review sessions. Create a concrete study plan that builds in study breaks and gives you adequate time to reach out to classmates or professors when additional assistance is needed.
Prioritize the big concepts and then go into detail. Studying the little details first may be tempting; however, it may not be the most efficient way to study. Study the information that you know will be on the test first and then look at the overarching concepts of the semester. Once you understand the big picture, it will be easier to link the details to the bigger picture.
Choose a stable environment in which you can best concentrate. Find an environment that works best for your individual needs. Do you prefer studying in an area with background noise or will that distract you? Do you need a large whiteboard to draw on or headphones to listen to recorded lectures? Whatever environment that has worked the best so far should be consistently utilized. It is easier for the brain to focus on studying when you are intentional about studying in a specific area.
Study by subject. This is important since many people like to hop from one subject to the next subject while studying. Spending at least an hour on one subject before switching subjects will help prevent confusion between subject content. Each subject is going to require a different study strategy. Maximize your study sessions by dedicating blocks of time for each subject.
Study according to the test format. Find out whether the test will be essay, multiple choice, true false, or problem solving. The format of the test is crucial in order to study efficiently. For an essay or free response test, outlining what to include in the essay is a more efficient way to remember the material rather than writing down a complete essay to memorize. On the other hand, a problem solving test may require detailed memorization of formulas or solutions.
Take breaks to make your study sessions more productive. After every hour of studying, it is important to take a ten minute break to allow your brain to process the material that you study. Take a walk, grab a healthy snack, or take a 10 minute nap during your short breaks between sessions. It may be tempting to have a marathon study sessions with few or no breaks. However, your brain needs a break to process the information and to take in new information.
These tips will hopefully help you adequately prepare for and breeze through your finals. At The Brain Domain we specialize in tutoring based on each student’s unique learning style. We strongly encourage you to make slight adjustments in your study behaviors in order to maximize your capacity to learn. Check out our blog on Maximizing Your Learning Potential to find out more about learning styles.
Below are a few tips designed specifically for the different types of learners:
1. Use colorful pens and highlighters to underline, highlight, and outline material.
2. Draw pictures and graphs to reinforce concepts.
3. Use timelines to understand historical and chronological information.
1. Listen to recorded lectures from the semester.
2. Go to a study group to discuss the content out loud.
3. Explain the material to a classmate and have them repeat it back to you.
1. Walk around while reviewing flashcards.
2. Skateboard or ride a bike while listening to your recorded notes or lectures.
3. Use physical objects to reinforce concepts (such as blocks, clay, or household items).
The Brain Domain team wishes you the best of luck as you wrap up the end of the semester. Consider reading our blog on Summer Tutoring as you prepare for your summer vacation.