Every student dreads preparing for and taking their finals, and for good reason. I don’t think there’s any other time in the year that’s as stressful as finals week. But knowing how to prepare for finals, not just running into the week blindly, can make the situation a little less awful. Here are some tips to help you ace your end-of-the-year exams less stressfully.
Studying. Obviously this is the most important thing when it comes to doing well on your exams. A lot of us like to put it off until the night before (something I’m guilty of) and spend the entire evening cramming. This is way less effective and much more stressful than some other spread out, easier methods. Start ahead of schedule – split the material you need to know into smaller chunks and spend a bit of time on them each night. This way you’re able to learn the material thoroughly without getting overwhelmed in the process. Not all exams are equal, so don’t treat them that way. Sometimes it’s not necessary to spend a large amount of time studying for one exam while you might have to put some extra time in for another. It helps to determine what grade you need on your final to get your ideal grade, and then base the time you study for your final on that.
The way you study can affect how painful the process is, and how well you retain the information. Studying in 20-50 minute intervals with 5-10 minute breaks can keep you from wearing yourself out and it’s likely you will learn more this way than you would while cramming. Don’t study in the same spot all the time – simply alternating rooms will improve how well you remember what you’re studying. Listening to music while studying is a favorite of most students, but it is a distraction. Students who listen to music, or have the television on in the background, retain less information. If you want to listen to music, opt for something without any lyrics. Spend the week or so before finals learning your material so you’re not stuck doing so during the middle of summer – you won’t regret it.