Life of a Brave: Studying Tips for Final Exam Success

By Matthew Parsons

As finals week approaches, instead of stressing, here are some tips in order to prepare for all the exams.

Don’t Just Read:

Too often, students just read over their books or notes. Instead, try reading the notes and then create questions or answer questions from the material. Just rereading the material isn’t the optimal way to study for exams.

Practice Tests:

Retrieval tests are extremely beneficial to retaining information and being prepared for your exams. Retrieval tests can be as simple as quizzing a friend over the phone or creating flashcards with a question on the front and the answer on the back. Try to ask questions in the same way that a teacher would ask. Don’t just ask surface-level questions either, try to dig deeper to be prepared for more complex questions.

Use Pictures:

The use of pictures makes it significantly easier to grasp material for some. Try to use images from class materials and if there are none, try to find or make some. Using pictures allows the brain to create more complete models in one’s head.

Space out studying: 

Distributed practice is a strong tool to use as it allows for the digestion of information over a period of time. This allows for a deeper understanding and memory of the concepts, rather than just remembering it for the exam. Distributed practice also helps put off procrastination, which is a habit many unfortunately fall into.


Try to use short and intense study sessions. These sessions should last somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour, and they include active studying strategies. For example, self-testing is an active study strategy that improves the intensity of studying and efficiency of learning


A significant amount of research has shown that multitasking does not have a positive impact on efficiency, but rather hurts your efforts to study effectively. Any distractions in studying can draw attention away from the main task and will have the potential to elongate the process of learning the material. Try to limit any and all distractions, including texting and social media.


Try to switch up the locations of where you study, and study when and where you learn best. Some times of the day will allow for a stronger performance than other times, and some places you may lead to better results than other places. Have a variety of locations for studying, which prevents one from being too comfortable and losing intensity in studying.

Try to Teach: 

Try to talk about the material and teach it as the teacher would. One can do this in a study group, with a partner, or even on one’s own. When saying the material out loud, it will direct the mind to what is confusing. Try to, like a teacher, make connections and use examples to deepen understanding. At first, notes may be necessary to help, but eventually the connections will be made, and the notes will not be needed.

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