Finals week is always something that is inevitably stressful, there’s no way around it. However, there are simple ways to plan and study to make sure you’re prepared and set up for success when it comes to finals week.
Planning out your week or if you’re ahead of schedule, weeks, ahead of time, will be the first step in setting up for success during finals. Finding out when your final time is the first step, a lot of times they’re not at the same time as your actual class. Then planning out what days you want to study what is key. This way you’ll be able to stay on track and see what you need to focus on each day and not getting overwhelmed. Planning out your schedule will also make sure that you’re giving yourself a few days in advance to study for each of your finals which is vital.
Utilize Different Studying Techniques
Studying is something very personal. One thing doesn’t work for everybody so you need to find what works for you through trial and error. For myself, I like to incorporate a few different studying techniques for each subject. This way I’m able to know for sure that I have a good grasp on the material and not just simply memorizing the answers to flashcards. That being said here are the studying techniques I prefer and recommend:
Making a study guide:
This is the first thing I do when I’m preparing to study for a exam. Most of the time I’m lucky enough to have a professor that will provide a study guide and I just fill in all the information needed. If the professor doesn’t have a study guide, I like to ask the professor if there’s certain chapters or sections of material that I should be paying attention to. This just hopefully gives me an idea of material that I need to spend more time studying and material that I don’t really need to pay attention to.
For subjects that I have to know a lot of material or key terms, I like to make flashcards. Not only do I think that writing down the key terms and the definitions helps me learn the material better, but studying flashcards are an easy way to learn the concepts and that I know really works for me.
I really recommend studying 3-4 flashcards at a time and once you have those memorized, study 3-4 more. Once you have that pile memorized add them to the first pile of flashcards and go through those 6-8 cards. Keep doing this until you have gone through your whole pile. This technique really works for me because I’m only focusing on 3-4 flashcards at a time which wont overwhelm me, but then I’m constantly repeating the other flashcards so that they terms are drilled in to my head by the time I’ve gone through the whole pile.
I’ve found that writing on a white board can be really beneficial for studying. For subjects where I have to understand the relation between terms or diagrams I like to use a white board to do this. This way I’m not wasting any paper, I can color-code with different color markers to differentiate between sections, and I can practice over and over again. If a subject is confusing to see the big picture, writing out how everything is connected, really helps me understand it all and therefore study the material better.
Read the Textbook:
If I haven’t read the chapters in the textbook that the materials over (and I have to admit I have a bad habit of not doing this), this is the time that I make myself read over the chapter if I need additional clarification. A lot of times, the textbook will define concepts or key terms in a more elaborate way and therefore will give me a more in depth understanding.
Take a Break
I know the last thing I feel like I should do when I’ve overwhelmed with studying is take a break from it all, but trust me, taking a break every now and again will refresh your brain and let you study better. The difficult thing about taking a break is that it needs to be short enough that you don’t skip out on studying all together, but long enough that your mind feel at ease. I find that taking a workout class or watching some YouTube videos are the best way to take a break from my studying. This way I have a set time that I’m allowed to get away from studying and keeping my mind off the studying material.
Finals week is a really stressful week. Adapting these techniques really help me make sure I stay on top of my finals and hopefully they do the same for you. Good luck to anyone who’s taking finals soon! Let me know in the comments down below how you study for finals!