No time of year is more stressful for students than finals. However, there’s no need to feel intimidated by exams — with the right preparation, you can gain the grades you deserve and that reflect the hard work you’ve put in all semester.
1. Write a Study Guide
Summarize everything you’ve covered in class by creating your own study guide. This will give you the chance to reflect on what material you need to know for your finals. It should also reveal any weak areas where you’ll want to focus your efforts.
2. Go to All Your Review Sessions
Attend the review sessions for all your classes. These are invaluable for finding out what to expect from each exam, both in terms of the style of the questions and what material the exam is likely to cover.
3. Practise for the Type of Exam
You’ll need to use quite different techniques if an exam will have multiple-choice questions than if it will have an essay question. Multiple-choice answers tend to require an understanding of key terms, whereas long answers mean you need to know how concepts relate to each other and you’ll need to be prepared with examples to use.
4. Condense Your Notes
A great study tactic for all types of exams is to reduce your notes down to the key points. You could put your notes in bullet points or draw them into a mind map that shows how concepts are linked.
5. Begin Prepping as Soon as Possible
You’ll perform much better on your exams if you start prepping several weeks in advance. Pulling all-nighters right before finals is always ineffective — you’ll struggle to retain the information and find that you’re too tired to focus on the exam.
6. Take Plenty of Breaks
It’s equally important to space out study sessions when you’re studying during the day, since it’s impossible to stay focused for hours at a time. Take short breaks to allow your mind to rest and longer ones to fit other activities into your day.
7. Clear Up Any Doubts
Don’t be afraid to ask your professors questions about the material if you’re unsure that you understand everything. Alternatively, a teaching assistant, your tutor, or another student may be able to help.
8. Study in a Group
A great way to seek support and advice from other students is to hold group study sessions. This can bring the material alive, help knowledge stick in your head better, and give you the chance to discuss ideas. Plus, you may find that you understand some concepts better than others in your group, which will give you a chance to explain the information in your own words.
9. Create a Study Calendar
Decide exactly which materials you’ll study and when. It can help to divide the information from each class into logical sections to cover. Don’t feel like you need to spend the same amount of time prepping for each exam — give yourself the most time for the material you find the most difficult. To keep yourself motivated, switch between materials from different classes throughout the day.
10. Make Flashcards
Quiz yourself on key facts and definitions using flashcards. It’s even better if you use questions similar to those that are likely to come up on the exam.
It’s much easier to study for your finals — and study the rest of the year — when you live in a student apartment rather than on campus. Start improving your study practices by finding a room for rent. Kingston students can find a home at Foundry Princess. Choose from a variety of floor plans, all of which give you a fully-furnished, private bedroom and access to great onsite amenities like a fitness centre, grocery market, and swimming pool. Apply now while spaces are still available.