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 class and textbook 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 review materials, including notes, study questions, practice problems, 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 mnemonic devices, flash-cards, outlining, or doing practice problems
- Take breaks. For every hour of intensive studying, include a 10-minute break.
- Remember: even if the online exam allows you to use your notes, you should prepare the same as an in-person exam. Having open notes does not mean you need to study less.
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 mind maps. Self-test by summarizing information aloud.
- Remember: for an online exam, practice using the technology before you need it to avoid problems. Set up a hard-wired connection, if possible, because it’s more stable than wi-fi.