Study tips when preparing for final exams

Wait, didn’t fall semester just start? While it may seem that way to you and I, final exams are just around the corner. If you are new to college, finals may have you totally freaked out.

There are many do's and don'ts when it comes to study tips. (Credit:

There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to study tips. (Credit:

Heck, even seasoned exam pros could use some study tips for how to prepare. And I am here to help with the inside secrets to ace any test!

Classic study tips

Some study tips never go out of style simply because they work. We start our how to prepare for final exams adventure by reminding you of some tried and true techniques that have worked for generations because they are simply that good.

  • Mnemonics—I used this as a kid to remember my music notes for piano. No, I don’t remember them now, but it worked then, and it can work for you now.
  • Caffeine—Small amounts of caffeine, frequently sprinkled throughout your study time, can give you a mental boost. And, no, more is not better in this case — moderation is key.
  • Read—I know, how old school! But reading the material, particularly before class, goes a long way towards helping you not only understand the info, but also retain it when final exams draw nigh.
  • Practice—A practice exam (you can Google it!) on the subject you are studying can give you some extra help if you are nervous.

Newfangled prep

It isn’t your parents’ world anymore. How to prepare for final exams has entered a new century and with that, there are some newfangled ways for you to study. For instance, if you didn’t exactly nail a concept in class, odds are there is a YouTube channel that can break down the subject into easy-to-understand episodes that will have you sailing through your final exams without a hitch. I just love YouTube!

Then of course there is the wonderful world of apps. There are study aid apps, like Flashcards+ or StudyBlue, which let you take your notes on the road for study time wherever you are. Also a newer learning technique called “spaced repetition” advises you to break up your study material into small chunks. Then you review each chunk over a long period of time. For instance, you divide up the Periodic Table into rows, learn a few rows, then move on to the next rows, always going back and repeating the previously learned rows.

Common study mistakes

When it comes to study tips, sometimes the most important thing to know is what you shouldn’t be doing. I often find that it is harder to unlearn bad things, so here are the top five don’ts when it comes to preparing for final exams:

  • Don’t pull all-nighters. Sure they seem cool on television and in the movies, but they are draining, and they don’t really help.
  • Don’t multitask. Multitasking and studying do not mix. In fact, that is really just a way to procrastinate. So don’t do it. Focus.
  • Don’t think everything is equal. You know that some final exams are probably going to be harder than others. Make a plan to spend more time where you need it most.
  • Don’t ignore your professors. Your professors are your best resource for final exams—after all, they are the ones creating the tests. Ask them any questions you have as soon as possible to maximize your study time.
  • Don’t skip taking care of yourself. You still need to treat yourself right. So get plenty of rest, eat right and keep up with your regular workouts. And maybe schedule a treat—you’ve earned it!

Do you have any tried and true study tips that help you make it through final exams? Let us know in the comments.

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