Finals Graph

Preparing for Finals

It’s that time of the year again – something that every college student dreads: finals. It’s that point in the semester that makes you question all of your life decisions and wonder why you ever chose the path of going to college. Although finals can be described as an accurate depiction of the underworld, if you prepare for finals the right way, you may be able to walk out them alive, and with a decent grade.

Here are a few ways to prepare for finals:

Get Organized – One good way to start preparing for your finals is to get organized. Sit down and write out each final you have and what it covers.

“For some of my classes, I don’t have a final. As for the finals I do have, some of my finals are cumulative and some only cover specific chapters. I like to sit down, look at my class schedule, list which classes I have a final for and what I need to cover for each of those finals. For instance, my communication ethics class final is based on the entire semester but my public relations final is based on just the last three chapters from the textbook,” said Madison Dorn, a junior communication major.

By getting organized you are preparing yourself for what you need to do, so that you aren’t scrambling when time is running out.

Outline Your Material – Once you have compiled a list of what you need to study for each final and how much time you need to spend studying, it is time to actually outline those materials so you can begin studying. One of the best ways to study is to make an outline. As you read over your textbook, class notes, and handouts, write a brief summary for each topic. Highlight the areas in your outline that were most troublesome. When you have finished with all the material, you will have an outline you can review and make flash cards out of.

Start Early – Start the studying process as early as possible before it’s too late. What’s difficult about finals is that you have multiple tests that cover multiple areas. Once you have compiled a list of what you need to study for each final, how much time you need to spend studying and outlined your materials, it is time to actually study. The sooner you start studying, the better. You are going to be covering a lot of material and you need to give your brain time to process all of that material. Do not leave studying until the last minute, it’ll only be harder for you to memorize and understand everything.

Get Help – If you’re having trouble memorizing something or one area really isn’t making sense to you, get help from your professor before it’s too late. Ask them to go over that trouble area with you during their office hours. Even if you are not having a hard time with the material, it would be very beneficial to create a study group. Having multiple people contribute and explain their way of taking on the material can be very helpful. Someone might mention a great way of studying that you didn’t even think of.

Take Care of Your Body – It’s going to be pretty hard to crush your finals if you’re sleep deprived, haven’t eaten a real meal in days, and are fighting off a cold. In order to perform your best, you have to treat your body kindly during finals week. Don’t be irrational and think you’re going to get tons of sleep, because we know that’s not true, but you should get enough so that you can be mentally alert during your study sessions and the exams themselves. Give yourself enough time to take a long, hot shower and get your laundry done so you can study in freshly washed sweatpants. Feeling healthy and energized will help you to perform at your mental best.