Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ace Your Finals: Exam Week Tips

As you are reading this it is very likely that I am currently taking an exam. I have two exams today, Finite Mathematics at 8:30 and Human Development at 12:00. While exams are definitely one of my least favorite times of the school year each year (and semester) I've gotten a bit more used to the routine that comes with them. Just remember, time management is key. This is my first semester at Furman where two of my exams fell on the same day (this always happened to me in high school though)  so studying for these required diligence and an intense time management regime. 

Many of you high school and college girls out there are in the same spot I am so hopefully this post will prove to be applicable to you! Best of luck to everyone taking exams or finishing up any big projects of the school (or work) year, hopefully these tips will be the motivation and encouragement you need to stay on task and power through so that we can all be cozy watching our favorite Christmas movies at home before we know it. 

Here are my very best exam week tips! If you want to see how I study for tests then check that out here!

have a plan and a planner …
Going to study without a vague idea of what you need to cover or where to begin is never all that productive. Having an idea and plan of what you need to accomplish is essential to productivity otherwise you'll have accidentally spent an hour on pinterest procrastinating which we are all guilty of. A planner is the simple solution to this. Having your assignments and times of your finals written down will be a visual representation of how you should prioritize your studies. 

get all of your materials together and organized …
Don't forget something in your room! Before you leave to go study decide what you are studying and be sure to gather all of those materials! Any chargers, textbooks, notebooks, flashcards, or highlighters you may need should join you on the first trip. Once you are in the library (or wherever you are studying) organize you subject's materials into piles. 

sleep! …
I say this but don't follow it. Enough sleep is arguably more important than those extra hours spent cramming. Try your hardest to get enough sleep during this stressful time. It will leave you more alert during the final and during your study session for your next exam after.

clean your study space …
I can not function in a disorganized study space! Having your materials organized and un-chaotic is important. Disorganization causes me more stress!  

have a step by step mentality & a to-do list … 
I know I already mentioned having a plan but I ALWAYS have a to-do list going and during exams this is no different. I like to make to-do lists of what I need to do in general to prepare and then make ones for my individual subjects including what information will be on the final as well as page numbers and any other crucial information given to me by the instructor. After I do that I remind myself to take on these tasks one at a time and step by step!

study solo … 
In order to focus and really learn information I prefer to study solo. Once I have done my fair share of individual studying only then will I consider studying with my classmates. For math for instance, I am always sure to study and work out problems on my own before meeting up with a couple of my friends who are in the same class as I am and working out the problems, we even try to make a game out of it!

stock up on healthy study snacks …
All of finals week cooped up in the library isn't exactly the most athletic thing I've done all semester. By bringing along healthier and more filling snacks instead of all the tempting Christmas candy I am more likely to get full and not feel so gross by the time I leave. 

avoid procrastinating and remove distractions …
Procrastinating just makes you feel like you have a whole lot to do but not a lot of time to do it in! Cut out distractions so that procrastinating will be less tempting! Look into getting the app Self Control, it is a lifesaver at keeping you on task. Also, don't be afraid to completely shut off your phone while studying or leave it in a different room (or on airplane mode), chances are you will get a whole lot more completed without answering text messages while studying. If you aren't using your computer to study then close it and put it to the side!

take adequate breaks … 
Knowing when and how to spend your study breaks is important. I have heard that for every hour of studying you should take a 10 to 15 minute break. Time yourself on these breaks, I feel like it is not uncommon for study breaks to turn into hour long conversations with friends...

quiz yourself with notecards and practice tests … 
Notecards and practice tests are my way of quizzing myself. Some people can just sit and re-read the material over and over but I don't retain information when I do that. To be sure that I will remember the information I quiz myself. Rewriting the information on notecards and practice tests continues to reinforce the knowledge!

have the right mindset {you know this information} … 
A teacher in high school always told me that you should go into any test with a nice mixture of confidence and nervous jitters. I have never been a very good test taker and I have yo work really hard for all of the grades I receive so testing always makes me very nervous. Oftentimes I have to remind myself that I have put in the time, I have an understanding of the information, and I will do my very best.

ask questions to get answers … 
If you are confused by something and can't figure it out after checking your notes and textbooks then ask a friend in your class or email your teacher. This shows that you are really curious about the subject and want to make sure you are clear with what is being asked of you.

Leave me your best tips as well by commenting below!


  1. This is such an informative post, Dorothy! I totally agree with everything you said. I can never study around other people (especially at my house), so I always opt for the library instead. It's super quiet and I am able to focus with no distractions. Plus, the time goes by faster!

  2. def need this

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. haha i just realised my first comment had alot of grammatical errors - so just putting another one - great post dorothy and im ecstatic that its up in time for finals!!!! all your posts are amazing!!!!:D

  4. These are great tips! Best of luck to you during your exams.

    Sweet Spontaneity


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