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Academic Success Center

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Countdown to Finals Events


Countdown to Finals


Use this handout to help you thoroughly prepare for your upcoming final exams. Start preparing for final exams 3 weeks before. We’ve created a series of tips to follow each week to guide you.

3 Weeks Before Your Final Exam

3 weeks before your final exam, focus on organizing.

  • Ask instructors about the content and format of final exams.
  • Organize your notes for systematic review.
  • Answer questions from tests that you didn’t know the first time.
  • Determine what you know and understand and what you do not know and understand.
  • Set aside a specific time each day that you dedicate to finals prep.
2 Weeks Before Your Final Exam
2 weeks before your final exam, focus on mini-review sessions.

  • Conduct short reviews of course material. Review old tests for cumulative finals.
  • Develop summary sheets and/or mind maps of important material.
  • Create note cards to increase (ensure) understanding of details and concepts.
  • Create a study task list of all material to be reviewed, including textbook chapters, notes, study questions, problems to be practiced, etc.
  • Develop a study schedule by estimating how much time each item on your study task list will take to complete.
  • Block out time for each activity. This is your plan of action!
1 Week Before Your Final Exam
1 week before your final exam, focus on intensive studying.

  • Follow your study schedule from the previous week.
  • Focus on comprehension—summarize course concepts in your own words.
  • Increase retention by linking new information to things you already know.
  • Apply the concepts! Ask—what’s an example of this? How and when would I use this?
  • Use study strategies like creating mnemonic devices, flash-cards, outlining, or working practice problems
  • Take breaks! For every hour of intensive studying, include a 10-minute break.
Exam Week
The week of your final exam, focus on reviewing and resting.
  • Take time to relax! Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and stay active!
  • Reduce test anxiety by avoiding last-minute cramming right before your exams.
  • Review summary sheets and/or mind maps. Recite and summarize information aloud. Create and take self-tests.
  • Continue to review the textbook by skimming important information like headings and topics.

Last Updated: 07/12/2019

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute The Academic Success Center, Texas A&M University.