Simple Final Exam Strategies for Success


Finals and end-of-semester exams are among the most challenging part of a college or university experience. They require lots of studying revising and often come with immeasurable amounts of stress. All the exams taking place so close to one another lead to information overload and cause most students to panic.

Research shows that in the U.S, over 1.3 million students drop out of school every year, and more than 30,000 fail and drop out of college. Some of the root causes of students failing exams in college are poor study habits, lack of motivation or interest, and academic unpreparedness. 

End-of-semester exams and finals account for almost half of your grade, and if you fail, you might retake the course or, worse, lose money, valuable time, and disappoint your loved ones. Since a large portion of your grade is on the line, it’s essential to have techniques that help you study well and prepare for exams. 

So how do you study and prepare for finals or end-of-semester exams?

Take Good Notes

Students are often advised to attend class to ensure they take good notes, which makes it easier to review them later. Besides, when you pay attention in class, you can ask the right questions to help clarify areas you haven’t understood properly. 

The way you take notes will have a big impact on your academic success, so make it a habit to write good notes from the first class you attend. Keep your notes brief, accurate, and easy to read. 

When the information is easy to review, it saves you a lot of time. Often it’s not recommended to write every word the professor says, but there is an exception in formulas, definitions, facts, and quotations.

When reading textbooks or class material, use appropriate note-taking techniques such as mapping, Charting, Cornell, and outlining methods. Don’t forget to highlight key points in your notes and annotate all the academic resources that will help you learn the material better and faster. 

Find a Tutor

Consider getting a tutor when you start struggling to understand most course concepts and can’t concentrate. In school, students get help from classmates or fellow students who excel in that particular subject. A teacher can also help, especially when you approach them after class. 

Yes, it might be intimidating, and learners often go to great lengths to avoid communicating with their college professors. However, you might grasp the material better and faster during a one-one meeting with the teacher. 

Outside the classroom, students can search for a tutor online or from an essay writing service with experts in every topic and subject. 

So don’t suffer in silence. With the exams approaching, if you are struggling to comprehend basic course concepts find a tutor since you will need the information when you progress to advanced level classes. 

Study with a Positive Attitude

Exams are energy-draining and stressful. But you must get a good grade in all subjects if you want to graduate on time. So to make the most of your study time, it is important to prepare for the exams positively. 

Develop a can-do attitude, declutter your mind and remind yourself that you are one of the few people who got accepted into that university because you have what it takes to succeed. 

When the topic you are studying is boring, it’s easy to develop a negative mindset and an inside voice telling you it’s impossible to understand the material. The inside voice is often the harshest critic. However, once you develop a growth mindset and a can-do attitude, you will study effectively and use the remaining time before the exam wisely. 

Focus on Understanding

Before reading notes and textbooks, look at all your courses and determine which one will need the most study time. Subjects that you find relatively easy will take the least study time. Then start studying those that will be examined first and assign enough time. 

Use your preferred learning style to summarize and revise notes. Analyze what you read and link the information to existing knowledge or reflect on how it relates to other concepts. Also, use active reading to stay focused and engaged. 

Review Class Material Often

Reading course material after class increases the odds of remembering it. So even after analyzing information from a specific chapter and making notes, make time days later to review the material and bookmark any difficult topics you need to revisit later. Take study breaks to reflect on what you just read and increase retention.