Tackling Your Semester Finals

Semester finals are approaching – tis the season of all-nighters and cram sessions. But, contrary to campus tradition, last-minute cramming and all-night study sessions aren’t as effective as they may seem.

The best way to conquer finals week is by planning ahead and practicing healthy study habits. Preparing for finals week in advance will help you (and your test scores) in the long run. Below are few tips to help you overcome the ever-looming finals week.

  1. GettyImages_135853697.jpgWork progressively. Cramming the night before is not an effective way to retain information. Plan ahead for tests and watch for upcoming dates so you can study portions of course content in short sessions. By focusing on smaller sections of information throughout the semester and diving deep into subjects as you learn them, you will save yourself major stress come semester finals.
  1. Take quality notes. Instead of rummaging through five textbook chapters in one sitting, concise, hand written notes will make finding information a lot quicker. Notes are easier to digest than whole textbook chapters, so take some time to make sure your notes are clear and straight forward.
  2. Stay organized. Though managing handouts and notes from several different courses can be a challenge, keeping yourself organized throughout the semester will make studying easier when semester finals roll around. One way to better organize your course materials is by using binders with labeled dividers or color-coded notebooks – they’re great tools for separating your coursework so it’s easily identifiable.
  1. Ask for help. A major mistake many college students make is failing to ask for help when they need it. If you’re feeling confused don’t be afraid to ask a classmate, teaching aid or instructor for help. The best way to learn the material if you have questions is to simply ask.
  1. Put yourself first. Through it may be tempting to pull all-nighters throughout exam week, you will feel and perform better if you get a good night of sleep. Call it quits at a decent hour and spend that time getting some quality sleep. Start putting your health first. In order to perform at your full potential, it’s important to take care of both your mind and your body.
  1. Go to class. One of the easiest, but most crucial tips on the list – show up to class. Though it may seem mundane, the best way to learn new information is in class, not the day before a final exam. Learning the information in class will allow additional time for comprehension and retention, better prepping you for finals week.

Semester finals can be an extremely stressful time, but through effective preparation you can alleviate some of that stress. For additional end-of-semester finals tips or study help, consult your campus advisor or student resource center.

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