Ten Study Tips to Ace Your Finals


     As finals steadily approach the high school student, there is a heightened urgency to begin revisions and preparation for the dreaded exams. These are the assessments that can distinguish a passing grade from a failing grade, boost grade point averages by several essential tenths, and determine one’s performance in the class. Unfortunately, during the long stretch of classes approaching finals, it’s common to experience burnout and a lack of motivation. These are the 10 tips to bolster a successful finals season, both on a personal and academic level.


Don’t subsist on a diet of energy drinks and caffeine. Make sure to have full meals. //

    Although it may seem easier—and faster—to skip meals and opt for junk food or sugary drinks to stay awake, it is subversive to studying efficiently. Healthy, balanced meals are a cornerstone to replenishing energy and motivation by keeping the immune system and body’s digestive tract strong. In the weeks prior to finals, a helpful way to stay healthy is to draw up a meal plan and pre-prepare foods such as sandwiches or marinated meats to make the preparation process effortless.


Exercise between study breaks. //

      Many people forgo their exercise during exam season, using the reasoning that exercising takes up valuable time that could be spent studying. However, exercise releases endorphins that make it easier for one to fall into deep sleep through the night and release the stress accumulating from looming exams. Exercising can break up studying into blocks of time and give the mind an opportunity to recharge between studying sessions. Just going for a brief walk or a quick yoga session can clear the mind and create a fresh slate for further revisions.


Create a study schedule or revisions table//

     Having a clear study plan can offset procrastination until the day before the final. Creating a study plan weeks or months before the exam can divide the work necessary to revise into manageable chunks. Many times, this looks like assigning certain days to complete practice tests, finish reviewing a concept, or do some review questions. This way, the student knows which topics they must cover and have tangible deadlines to meet those requirements in the first place.

Practice, practice, practice. //

     Practicing may seem counterintuitive, but all too often, stellar students fail to meet their own expectations on an exam because they have centered themselves around the theory of the subject. IT is important to utilize online test bank services such as Albert.io or Khan Academy to provide concrete practice on question formats. Only by simulating the conditions of the test can a student be the most prepared for the test itself.


Set up group study sessions—this goes for you introverts too! //

     While it is the habit of many to withdraw from group studying during exam season and adopt a each-man-for-himself mindset, it is extraordinarily helpful to collaborate with peers in breaking down practice problems and concepts. This can come in the form of challenging each other to solve free response questions or having group review sessions for difficult aspects of the curriculum. Working with peers can help motivation and fight off the urge to procrastinate.


Make sure to get consistent levels of sleep. //

     It would be impractical to hope for a full eight hours of sleep every day during finals, but it is important to maintain a pattern of sleep. Pulling random all-nighters or cramming into the early morning the night before the test is sure to disorient sleep schedules in a way that ensures the student is disoriented during the lecture or the final itself. If the standard amount of sleep per night for students is six hours, they should strive to balance each night’s sleep around that amount in order to stay at their best during the test.


Keep a list of the most important frequent mistakes or areas of trouble in the subject. //

    Creating a list of the key concepts to remember for the test is remarkably helpful in narrowing down the scope of your revisions. The night before the exam, if a student is able to pace out their revisions successfully, they should be able to simply focus on the list of the hardest questions or the more important reminders without having to scan the entire paper. This also forces the student to reflect on the mistakes they made such that they don’t make them again.


Talk to the teacher or professor and determine how the exam will be! //

     Many people shirk at approaching their teachers and asking about the final exam. In fact, in many high school courses, the word ‘final’ becomes a taboo, never to be uttered until the dreaded day of the test. However, it is always important to communicate with the teacher of the course and ascertain the key subjects that are on the final. Whether this means using the teacher as a resource to clarify troublesome questions or simply asking whether a certain topic will be on the exam, it is never a bad idea to check with the teacher and make the most out of their guidance.


Set aside specific goals for revisions and break your targets down. //

      Before sitting down to study, be sure to outline specific goals instead of ‘Study for Physics’. Narrowing down sub-aspects of how to study for the subject at hand, such as finishing the diagnostic test, doing problems on a certain topic, and taking notes on a new chapter creates a much easier outline to follow.


Don’t procrastinate! //

     This may seem intuitive, but most students who do not do well on finals will confess that they began studying too late or they postponed their studying to the last minute. Being proactive and clear in your goals to ace the final is the most important aspect of being a successful student this time of year.