Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tips For Acing Your Exams

Happy Wednesday! Classes ended yesterday for me and I am gearing up for my finals  this week and next. I officially finish next Monday night and will be heading home to start winter break on Tuesday. With my exams decently spread out this year hopefully I will be able to make it through the end of the semester with some success! 

I know many college students are in the same boat as me either preparing to take exams or are currently in the process. As a senior, I'd like to think I have a bit of experience when it comes to exam success and figured there is no better time than now to share some of my tips! 

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 on occasion (hey maybe that is why you're here to begin with). 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 and get going. 

sleep! …
I say this but don't always 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 and mix up where you study …
I can not function in a disorganized study space! Having your materials organized and un-chaotic is important. Disorganization causes me more stress!  It's also great to mix up where you study. I love spending the morning at a local coffee shop and then studying in the library at night to make sure that I don't get too stir crazy!

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 professor. After I do that I remind myself to take on these tasks one at a time.

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. Often we try to make a game out of our problem solving which helps to make the whole process slightly less monotonous. 

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 and this is the best way to avoid that. 

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 to 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.

It's crazy to think these are my last real college finals. Next semester will look quite different for me as I will be taking a block of education classes for the first month and a half and from there be student teaching the rest of the semester meaning I won't have another true set of finals. In reality I kind of love study days and exam week since I know I'll be able to spend the whole day working to learn information and the environment is motivating. Call me a nerd, it wouldn't be the first time I've been called that but knowing Christmas and heading home for break is right around the corner makes it that much more bearable. 


  1. I absolutely love this post Dorothy! Next week is my first finals week ever of college so I'm pretty nervous, but all of these tips will definitely help me out! Good luck on finals!

    Katelyn //

  2. It's ironic that instead of studying for my chem test tomorrow I'm reading this lol! This definitely helped to inspire me though, so fingers crossed I'll get my head on straight in the next hour and get down to business!


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