Studying for finals 101: Tips for passing your exams with flying colors


The weeks that follow fall break to the end of the semester seem to fly by in a blur of papers, projects, pots of coffee and heavy textbooks – all handled on fewer hours of sleep than we would like.

But don’t let the stress of the semester ruin your holiday spirit. There are many ways to prepare for your finals that can help you keep your sanity intact.

First, try switching up your study area. Study in the library if you find yourself too easily distracted by noise. It sounds like it would be painfully dull, but once you really sit down and focus on what needs to get done, studying in the library becomes quite beneficial. If you absolutely need a little background noise but still wish to avoid the major distractions found in dorm lobbies or the J.C. Williams Center, try finding a quiet spot somewhere outside. Absorbing the fresh air can keep you awake and focused without incessant hordes of people around.

You can also consciously manage your study habits in order to maximize their effectiveness. If one of your professors does not provide a study guide, make your own. Flash cards can also be useful, and can be made easily and quickly. If you tend more toward technology, there are also helpful sites like Quizlet that can make a great deck of online flashcards for you.

It may also be beneficial to switch between subjects while studying, rather than immerse yourself on one subject for hours at a time. Switching between subjects prevents boredom and can actually help you learn more.

Finally, try not to categorize yourself as either a visual or auditory learner. You may learn better in different ways depending on the subject matter, so try to experiment with study styles and do not be afraid to try something new.

Stress management is particularly important during preparation for finals. While your main focus should be studying, be sure to take a short break after each 30-40 minute period of study. Use this break time to eat nutritious and filling foods to keep your body strong. Coffee is great, but balance your coffee intake with at least an equal amount of water to stay hydrated. It is also wise to use your break time to take short, brisk walks around your dorm or study area. This helps to stretch your muscles and keep you awake for more studying.

Just remember that the semester is almost over. Take a deep breath and dive into your schoolwork. Try your hardest and remember that, though it may seem as if finals are the end of the world, they really are not.

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