Every student needs some final exam study tips! After all, Dead Week has ended. You think the studying and week-long research projects sucked? For the next week, get ready for exams and due dates to hit you all on the exact same days, textbook-length study guides that are probably going to be of no help at all, and days of anxiety over what grades you’ll receive… right after your professor takes their sweet god-damn time posting it. And all that is to say nothing of the more of anxiety and hopelessness that often comes with it. Well, there are some parts that you can’t get around. Stress is inevitable even for the most overachieving students (sometimes arguably more so), and you can’t cheat your way through every test (seriously though don’t cheat), and you definitely won’t be getting any extensions on the last week of school. However, there are ways to facilitate your way through finals week without getting an expulsion or a mental breakdown for that matter. For this, here are final exam study tips that college students (and grad students) swear by.
Get your poop in a scoop
You’d be surprised at how much this one is undervalued amongst these final exam study tips. Just get it together. That means organize! If you’re not organized at all, now’s the time – and if you are organized, get more organized! Set up a schedule for the entire week broken down into hours. Especially if you failed to utilize Dead Week for studying (as many do, myself included), every second that you can squeeze in some extra studying you should plan out and take full advantage of. Maybe it’s time to dust off that planner that you gave up on using after the first couple weeks, or perhaps print one off using Word or Excel if you’ve got the skills. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that not a single second is wasted.
Poop in a scoop (continued)
The same goes for your study material; organize it! With any hope, you’ve had the foresight to keep your materials organized from the getgo. If not, this one could be somewhat time-consuming as far as final exam study tips are concerned, but you should consider getting some binders, dividers, and anything else you need for organizing a semesters worth of paper in the form that is easiest for you to navigate. Take an hour or two to organize everything by class, date, and level of importance. It really is amazing what you can accumulate in a short 6 months or so, and between 4 or 5 classes it can turn chaotic real quick, especially when you need to study and refer to things. And by the way, if you’re thinking “that’s stupid, I’ll never use any of this again,” oh how wrong you are! When senior-year finals come around, get ready to friggin’ wish you still had that paper or those notes from sophomore year that would have been a perfect first half of your final research paper or would have helped you study! So save it, in a bin in your basement back home if you have to, but don’t throw it away! To help you prioritize, here’s a quick inventory of what you should probably be organizing: graded tests, graded assignments, a list of readings you’ll be needing for your exam (a table of contents for the test of sorts), practice tests, notes (hopefully you’ve been taking thorough ones all semester), and last but not least your syllabus, which has every due date you need as well as potentially rubrics and criteria for your work, all of which was written with the professor’s own hand (rather than relying on what you remembered about a syllabus 6 months ago). Once you’re all organized, you’ll still have to study, unfortunately, but now it should be a breeze, and thus, one less pain in the ass you have to deal with this week.
Pretend to cheat
DON’T CHEAT! Cheatn’s bad m’kay? You get caught cheating and you’re going to find your ass on the curb with academic probation, if not expulsion real quick. That said, here are some final exam study tips for ya’ that I bet you didn’t know: pretend to cheat! Act as if you’re planning on it. Write as many little cheat-sheets as you need on a pocket-sized index card. Try to squeeze as many answers from the practice test as you can on the back of a water bottle label. Write all your conjugations on your thigh. Whatever sounds like a good way to cheat for you, do it, then don’t cheat. Use it to study no matter where you are, reading them over and over again with the intent to use them on the test, and when you get to the test, dump your cheat-sheet index cards, recycle your sneaky water bottles, and wash off your informative body art (P.S. you may want to use an easily erasable medium for this, or else you’d better wear long-ass sleaves to the final). Surprisingly, you’ll remember more than you think from this method to the point where you won’t even need to cheat anyways. Seriously though don’t actually cheat.
Focus on self-care every chance you get
I know I already said you should schedule studying wherever you get the chance, but don’t go overboard with it to the point where you’re just making unnecessary work for yourself. If you have spare time (assumedly because you actually studied over Dead Week), take some for yourself to do you. Take some breaks to relax, do your hobby, work out, go to the spa, or whatever else floats your boat. What’s more, definitely maximize your sleep schedule as much as you can. You can study for 22 hours per day before your finals, but if you only slept 2 hours you may as well have not studied at all! You need to stay as well-rested and relaxed as possible. Yet, on the other hand, you don’t want to overdo it to the point of blatant procrastination – so find a good balance that will keep your grades high without running your mental well-being into the dirt.