Tips for Finals!

Hello all. As we are all trying to prepare for our exams, here are some helpful tips for what to do before and during finals. I have found that these tricks have made significant results, and I hope they are as helpful to you, so you could get that grade and dive into winter break stress free! 

Before the exam:

Create a Study Group. One thing that I did a lot of this semester was that I studied with two or three friends because not only is there more brain power, but my friends and I all motivated each other to do well. We did practice problems and made sure everyone understood the material before moving on. Study groups in my opinion have always been beneficial to me only if everyone stays focused, on task, and ready to learn. Since most of my friends are commuters, we created online study groups using google hangout. This was very helpful because we were able to study at the comfort of our own homes, and get lots of work done!

 Do the study guides/practice problems. In most of my courses, the professors had given us a plethora of practice problems. Some of my nice professor gave us hints along the course on what would for a good exam question, while other times gave us the exact type of question we should be prepared to answer. Often times, professors will share past exams so students can practice those for the upcoming final. I would take advantage of all the practice problems, practice final, and study guides that the professor hands out because chances are, that material will show up on the exam.

Create helpful your notes (when allowed).  Instead of giving a tricky test, some of my professors allowed us to bring in a sheet of paper with our notes to the exam. It is important to have good notes if you're given this chance. Be sure to organize your notes in a way where its most helpful to you! I always like to write my key formulas on top, and important concepts on the bottom!

During the exam:

Don't stress out. In two hours once you are confronted with a million questions of varying degrees of difficulty, you might get a little anxious. If you feel like you aren't doing so well just keep going! Chances are the exams are designed to have some harder questions, and in any case, it is just best not to stress out.

Get right to it. When you get to the exam and get your test, take the time to carefully plan out how you will go about the exam. Be sure to look at how many questions there are, and how much time you will allocate to each question, and how much each question is worth. If one question is worth more points than the other, I would do those first! Read all the instructions carefully and try not to waste any time when planning out how you will go about the exam. For instance, I would often catch myself highlighting and making useless notes to myself while reading the question, and I found that not only did this waste time, but it didn't really help me.  

Use your time wisely. Two hours is a long time. Try to allocate your time according to question (the more the question is worth, the more time you should spend on it). I often like to divide my exam into a number of sub-sessions. Be sure to approach each question separately from the rest that way you are less likely to make any minor mistakes.

Answer the question& Make it easy on the grader. I remember one time, I got points taken off on an exam because the reader could not read my answer. From this I learned that you are more likely to get a good grade if you:

  • Make clear which question you're answering.
  • Explain your work in detail so that someone unfamiliar with the answer would know from your work what the correct answer is.
  • Show all work in a problem-based exam.
  • Write neatly!

Check and Re-check. Surprisingly, many students simply leave early before the exam is actually over. I learned that this is not the best thing to do because there is always problems that need to be checked! Making a tiny correction to a problem can be the difference between getting an A, so take the time to recheck all your answers!

That's it for now, Good-luck with finals everyone!