7 smart final exam tips to help you get the top grade you deserve

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Doralicia Giacoman-Soto
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There are only a couple of weeks left until the semester ends and there seems to be nothing between you and your break…but then there are final exams. Final exams are the last thing by which your professor will grade you, as well as likely count as an important percentage of your grade.

But there is no reason to feel overstressed! While it’s important to give final exam testing the importance it deserves, it is also important to not overwhelm yourself. Tackle final exam studying efficiently with a clear mind and strategy. Here are 7 simple, smart tips to consider integrating within your studying routine to help you earn that top grade you deserve!

1 – Study with the right attitude.

While studying might not always be as fun as watching your favorite TV show or spending time with friends, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important or can’t be meaningful to your learning. To make the best and most of your studying time, it is important that you change the way you view final exams and how you prepare. Instead of looking at final exams and studying as frustrating, change your attitude from “ugh, I don’t like this!” to “I’ve got this!” and “learning and studying for this exam will help lead me closer toward getting my degree and dream job.”

Approach studying with a clear mind and open attitude. Seek to make the best of your time and energy spent studying by actively trying to understand your text and notes. Work through questions instead of just skimming through your materials and reading the answers. A good attitude can make a really good, powerful difference.

2 – Be honest where you stand in the course.

Honesty is vital not only in relationships and for your well-being, but also in your education. It’s important to be aware and honest with yourself about where you stand in understanding your college courses. Are you struggling with just one section of a course, or most of it? What can be done to help?

Be honest – if you need help, reach out to your professor, be part of study groups with your classmates, find tutor sessions. By being honest with yourself and your professor about where you stand (and what you understand) in class, you’ll be more successful in class. 

3 – Explain what you’re studying to another person.

When you teach what you’re studying to someone else, you get to practice what you’re learning and you can figure out how well you understand the material. Putting it in your own words can reinforce your comprehension. If you can explain clearly what you’re learning to another person, you’re on the right path!

4 – Try to recreate the exam testing setting as much as possible.

If you get test anxiety or are simply nervous about your upcoming exam, try taking a practice exam (or a couple), recreating your exam setting as much as possible. While taking the practice exam, sit in a desk, dressed for the exam, and without study resources…just you, your pencil, and paper. Exposure to the setting that you’re nervous about can lessen your fear and increase your confidence for when the testing time does arrive.

5 – Have everything ready the night before the exam.

Your ID, calculator, pencil, paper, the clothes you’re going to wear: have them ready the night before. Seeing everything neatly ready can give you a sense of control as well as prevent you from forgetting about packing or not being able to find the materials you need at the last minute.

6 – Alternate where you study.

Make sure that not only is your mind fresh, but so is the environment in which you study! Always studying in the same place can be exhausting and, well, simply uninspiring. Alternate where you choose to study so your study spot stays fresh and inspiring. Try studying at a quiet spot in your library by a window, your room, or making a picnic and studying outside. It’s important to be in an environment that stimulates you as well as one that allows you to focus. Stay away from unnecessary noises or distractions like your phone or television. So goodbye dark dorm, and hello sunny cool study spot!

7 – Take care of your health.

Even when you’re really busy and caught up with studying and other responsibilities, it is important that you keep taking care of your health – both mental and physical. Make them the priority they truly are. While fulfilling your responsibilities as best as you can, also take some time for yourself and your health. Regular exercise can serve as a great stress outlet and improve your memory and energy level. A balanced diet that includes healthy snacks such as almonds, fresh fruits, and vegetables can do the same.

Take study breaks to do things that you enjoy, inspire you, and help you unload stress. Watch shows that make you laugh or funny cat videos on YouTube (you will not regret it). And simply, get plenty of sleep – not just the night before the exam, but regularly. With good health can come equally rewarding success!

Studying for final exams may feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. With a smart strategy, including incorporating good studying practices, maintaining a good attitude, and taking proper care of yourself, final exam success can truly be accomplished.

Now go, keep learning, and get that A you deserve!


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