For students of all ages, final exams can cause anxiety. The key to easing that anxiety is to plan ahead and to use proper studying techniques in the weeks prior to the exams. Preparing for final exams will be much easier if you follow these steps and do not procrastinate.
Preparing for Exams
Highlight key terms, concepts and people in your notes and textbook. Make documents that reflect this information. Consider putting this information into thinking maps or some other visual aid. It may seem like a lot, but the practice of reading and writing the items will help you remember them. It is a good idea to start assembling these lists early in the course rather than a few days before exams, when the task will be overwhelming.
Make flashcards to assist you in learning important terms and their meanings. This may seem elementary, but the method works for all ages. You can test yourself throughout the course to maintain your knowledge.
Create a study guide based on your notes and any other information that will be included on the exam. You can make the guide in the form of questions, or you can simply have the information presented in an outline form.
Form a study group with fellow students. Studying in a small group can allow the members to compare notes and share studying or learning strategies. Quizzing each other can be a fun way to cover course information. Belonging to a study group will also help you to get explanations of concepts that you do not understand.
Study independently the night before the exam. This is not the time for all-night cramming sessions. By preparing for the exam weeks in advance, the final night should be dedicated to going over the study guide and other notes. It should be a time of refreshing your mind, not trying to comprehend or understand information.
Make sure you have all needed supplies for the exam before going to bed the night before. This may include pencils, paper, calculators, extra erasers, or any other items your instructor requires.
Get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy breakfast on the morning of the exam. Try doing some relaxation techniques like deep breaths, yoga or listening to music. This will help you start the exam with a calm, focused mind.
- Don’t drink caffeinated beverages the night before the exam. The caffeine can increase your heart rate and you may not be able to get adequate sleep. Not being rested the day of the exam can cause you to do a poor job no matter how much you have studied.
Previously working for the North Carolina Community College System, Rachel Morgan has been a freelance writer and editor for over six years. She has a bachelor's degree in public health as well as a master's degree in English.