With finals just around the corner, it’s time to start studying now! To help you fully prepare for all of your courses, I have put together the ultimate finals checklist you need to follow. So scroll down and let’s get started! I expect an A+ from all of you!
1. Utilize Your Planner
Right now, I don’t care where you are, pull out your planner and grab some colored pens! Find out all of your final exam dates, and let’s work backward from there.
Use your planner to schedule in blocks of studying time over the course of the next couple of weeks. For example, if you know your finals are on May 12th, rather than getting blindsided with hours of heavy studying the days before, use your planner to create shorter, weekly study reminders!
2. Break Up Study Material Into Smaller Chunks
Again, this is where your trusty planner comes in handy! Break up your study guides into smaller, more manageable chunks that you’ll complete over the course of days, not hours. Your brain will better retain the information and you’ll be less likely to make mistakes, as opposed to cramming information at the last minute.
3. Use Blue Ink
There have been studies that have shown that writing in blue ink will help you remember content better. So before you create your study guides, head down to your local supply store and buy a box of blue pens. It can’t hurt to try!
4. Try the “Pomodoro Technique”
I absolutely love this trick! Whenever you are tackling a daunting task, especially studying for finals, consider incorporating the Pomodoro Technique. Simply pull out your phone and set the timer for 30 minutes. Turn off all potential social media distractions and get to work. When the timer goes, make yourself stop no matter where you are, and take a break. Go get a snack or use the restroom. Make a cup of coffee or do 25 sit-ups. The idea behind this is that by setting a timer for chunks of work time, you are telling yourself, “Ok, I only need to focus for 30 minutes, and then I get a break.”
Your brain can only focus for so long, so rather than try to force yourself to concentrate for hours at a time (knowing you will eventually get distracted), use the Pomodoro Technique to intentionally schedule “distractions.” Believe it or not, you will maximize work time and retain more information.
5. Create a Study Web Using Sticky Notes
I have used this technique for almost every major final exam. In your more difficult classes, use sticky notes to create a “study web” of only the most important concepts. Think of this as a physical representation of the class content, and then build your study guide off of your web. After making your study guide, come back to your study web and see if you can freely explain the major topics without looking at any notes.
6. Chew Mint Gum
Studies have shown that chewing gum increases alertness. So, while you study pick a mint-flavored gum you like (I recommend Extra) and start chewing. Every single time you study, chew gum. The idea here is that every time you unfold that gum wrapper, you are creating a “studying barrier” and getting into the “finals” mindset. Then on the day of the actual test, you’ll pop in your piece of gum and go to town on your final exam, just like you’ve been practicing!
7. Form a Study Group
Great minds think alike! Study guides can be lengthy, so partner up and tackle the study guide together! Study groups are a perfect way to cover more ground and save time.
Become a master on the chapter you were assigned, and teach your portion of the study guide to your group. This is the best way to know if you really understand the course material.
8. Create a “Cheat Sheet”
Another great studying tip is being able to create a thorough summary of the course. Essentially, pour through all of your class notes, quizzes and lecture slides, and extract the most pertinent information. Remember, limit your cheat sheet to only one page. This way, the process of creating a condensed cheatsheet forces you to think about which information is the most valuable.
With all of this studying, you’re going to need energy! Before you start a studying session, stop by your local coffee store for a warm cup of joe, and get that much-needed energy boost! If caffeine isn’t your thing, try eating foods heavy in protein (meat, fish), antioxidants (berries), and omega-3 (fish, eggs)–all scientifically proven to help fuel your brain!
10. Take Practice Tests
Usually, around finals time, your professor will post a practice test that he “recommends you take” but it’s “not mandatory.” This translates to “TAKE THE PRACTICE TEST!”
Oftentimes, your professor will model their practice tests similarly to the final exam, if not exactly. At the very least, you’ll get a good idea of the types of questions they’re more inclined to ask. And, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect!
11. Get Good Sleep
The day before your finals, don’t pull an all-nighter and expect to have an epiphany sometime around 4 a.m., where you’ll finally understand the material. Studying doesn’t work that way. That’s why you’ve spent the last couple of weeks preparing!
Instead, go to bed early and get a full 8 hours of sleep. At this point, you either know the material or you don’t, and cramming the night before isn’t going to help.
12. Do Not Study The Day Of The Test
On the day of your finals, don’t try to memorize more material. It’s too late to cram. Besides, you’re more than ready! Make sure to eat a good breakfast and give yourself plenty of time to get to class.
You’ve got this! Get that A, girl!