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Tips on Studying for Final Exams

Final exams are the bane of collegiate existence to some. Although you spent months learning and testing on the material, you are now presented with the potentially overwhelming task of proving you have retained what you learned. Studying for final exams does not have to be overly painful, though. With a little planning and a few simple study tips, you can ace those finals without losing too much sleep.

  1. Plan ahead
    While late night cram sessions may be common among college students, the road to success does not have to be paved with sleep deprivation. Chances are you have your final exam schedule long before the tests take place, so why not schedule study time as well? If possible, set aside half an hour to an hour a day in the weeks leading up to finals to go over materials. Use this time to review class notes, old tests, and any handouts provided. When a professor takes the time to create and copy handout materials, this usually indicates information worth remembering.
  2. Know your learning style
    Some students learn best by seeing, others by hearing, and some by doing. Studying for finals has more impact when you know and use your own learning style to your advantage. Visual learners can create flash cards and charts, while auditory learners benefit from listening to recorded lectures or studying verbally with a friend or in a study group. For hands-on learners, look for practical exercises in your textbooks, or consider asking your professor for suggestions.
  3. Eat "brain food"
    No study session is complete without snacks, but consider skipping the pizza and potato chips in favor of foods that boost your learning abilities. Numerous studies have shown that foods high in protein and Omega-3 promote higher brain function, so feed that snacking urge while you study with fruit or nuts. Consider fish as your pre-study dinner for an additional boost, and drink tea while studying for finals to increase your energy.
  4. Consider your study environment
    Do you work better in silence, or does music help you concentrate? Knowing your ideal study environment helps make studying for final exams as productive as possible. Some students work best when dressed for success, while others prefer less constricting attire. The library might be your ideal environment, or you may prefer to host a study group at home. Thinking about what has worked best for you in the past helps you build study habits for a successful future.