9 Study Tactics to Help You Ace Your Final Exams

Posted on December 23, 2016

Final exams are just around the corner – are you ready? Here are 9 easy ways to improve both your study tactics and your grades:

  • Don’t cram. Start studying early, ideally setting aside a regular time each day (yes, each day) to help ensure the material “sticks” and to identify any questions or problem areas so they can be addressed by the professors well in advance of the final exams. Cramming is pretty ineffective and it can significantly increase your stress level, which in turn can lead to poor performance on your final exams.
  • Make a study guide. Even if your professor offers one, it’s a good idea to create your own. Just the simple act of writing an outline and other important information can go a long way toward helping you retain the material.
  • Consider joining – or forming – a study group – but only if studying with others suits your style. Some college students prefer studying on their own, so only consider a group if you think it could be beneficial for you.
  • Take advantage of office hours. If you’re unsure of material or you just feel you could use some guidance on the exam itself, visit your professor or TA during office hours and don’t be afraid to take notes.
  • Get plenty of rest. Make sure your study schedule includes frequent breaks and regular sleep, and do all you can to avoid all-nighters. Not only is your brain less receptive to learning when you’re tired, but you’re also more prone to getting sick.
  • Quiz yourself frequently, and practice online tests and exams on similar material so you’re ready for different types of questions like true and false, multiple choice and essay.
  • Try explaining difficult concepts out loud. It may sound odd, but most people have a better chance of retaining subject material when they engage their eyes, ears and speech.
  • Mix up your subjects. Instead of getting burned out on one subject, spend an hour on one subject, then switch to another class to improve your overall focus.
  • Stock up on healthy snacks. Sugar and caffeine may give you a rush, but once the high fades away, you can feel more drained than ever. Instead, keep dense carbs and proteins on hand for quick pick-me-ups and drink lots of ice water to stay hydrated and alert.

The time to final exams is counting down – fast. Get started today by making a study schedule and commit yourself to sticking with it. After all, in just a few weeks, exams will be over and it’ll be time to start planning for the next semester!