a pencil laying over exam sheets

How to Prepare for Final Exams: 10 Top and Easy Tips for Success

It’s that time of the year where the semester is coming to a close, and students are getting ready for that dreaded final exams season. Instead of cramming on the last night before the exam, prepare yourself by following some of these tips!

Woman thinking to study
Set yourself up for success by planning!

Make a plan

Be realistic about this plan. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to study chemistry for 6 hours straight. Rather, make a plan like “study chemistry at 1-2:30pm” and “study Spanish 3-4:30pm.” 

Book on woman's face.
Studying is frustrating! Do take your breaks if needed.

Take breaks

Again, be realistic. Don’t study for half an hour then play video games for 4 hours. During your breaks, do something that does help you relax. Eat, nap, or go for a walk. 

Build healthy habits and routines

If you see that one of your exams will be at 8am (God forbid), then you might want to start building the habit of sleeping at 11pm instead of 3am because you’re scrolling through TikTok. Maybe you should delete TikTok from your phone while finals are going on. Also, remember habits take weeks to form and are not formed overnight. 

Don’t break any of your habits/routine

If you normally don’t eat breakfast in the morning, don’t all of a sudden eat breakfast on the day of your final. If you normally drink coffee, then get coffee like you usually do.

Stay hydrated

Many students get so immersed in their work that they forget to stop and drink water. Your brain does need water to function. Random liquids such as coffee or juice are not water. They can do so much, but they can’t replace water.

Communicate with your instructors

The time before the exam is free real estate for you to ask anything to your teachers. Obviously, you can’t ask what exactly will be on the test, but you have the chance to look over concepts you didn’t understand earlier in the semester. 

Collaborate with your classmates

Facing finals is better done with support. You can tackle hard practice questions together or you can teach other concepts. Hanging out with friends also makes for a good break.  

Make use of all resources

Your professor will not leave you empty-handed during your preparation. They’ll give practice exams or even provide a review session before the exam. Always take advantage of these. Your professor will probably use the same structure and can answer all your questions at the review period. 

Know yourself

As silly as this sounds, only you really know what works for you. If you’re a visual learner, then colour-code your notes. Draw pictures and diagrams to help you visualize and remember concepts. Some people remember what they learned when they listen to music so attach a song to certain material, then recall the song during your exam. 

When you’re done

Once you are out of the exam room, take a deep breath and don’t think about it anymore. You can’t change anything anymore and it’s best to move on. Get yourself a treat or take a well-deserved nap.

Remember there are hundreds of strategies you can do to gain success on your finals. Do what works for you. 

Here at CISM, we wish you all the best on your exams! Good luck! You got this. You’re smart and capable and you’re going to tackle those exams with flying colours.  

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