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Academic Success Center

(979) 458-4900 9th floor Rudder Tower

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 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.
 

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 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.

 

Last Updated: 11/05/2020

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.