Studying for Finals: The Breakdown

Finals week is coming, which means it’s that time of the semester again: major, cumulative studying. While we all just want to lay back and watch that show on Netflix or hang with friends everyday, it’s better to think about that book you read in English class or memorize the formula to calculate velocity for Physics class.

Here are some tips on how you can breakdown studying, so you’re not scrambling:

1. The biggest rule of all the rules: Do not try to do it all the day before the test.

Nothing good will come of this. You will be stressed. You will not like it and you might give up, thinking that winging it would be better than this. It won’t be. Start a week or two before the day of the final.

2. Get any notes that you missed

If you missed a lecture or two, find a friend or somebody who will loan you their notes to copy. It might be embarrassing to admit that you missed a bunch of lectures, but that embarrassment is far better than not studying the material that you never learned in class to begin with, right? Right.

3. Make review sheets

Printing out all of your notes from lectures will only cause shutdown mode. Looking at weeks of notes during your study sessions is painful. It’s a thick mess of papers and it’s just no fun.

Making review sheets is not only a better way to go over material, but making them also gives you extra studying! Start early and look over your notes. Collect the important information (and an example of the concepts, if needs) and write it in your notebook or in a word document. Soon, you’ll have gone through your lecture notes and will have a review packet that is significantly smaller. That’s so much easier to manage and you’ve already been studying just from making it because you’ve been looking over the material as you go!

In the same vein, if you have vocabulary words for your Spanish class or something, make flashcards for quick, on-the-go studying!

4. Highlight

Okay, so now you’ve got your review sheet. Go through with a high lighter and highlight especially important terms. Don’t highlight everything or you’ll just be looking a bunch of neon blocks of yellow. Highlight the term and it’s main idea, or just highlight the things you don’t really remember.

5. Read over materials

If you read The Great Gatsby this year, open the Sparknotes and read over the summaries. I know, Sparknotes is frowned upon, but if you already read the book, it’s okay to refresh your memory with the summaries. If you didn’t read the book, read it because it’s a great book and because, as I said above, you shouldn’t take a test on something that you missed. If you read articles, short stories, or science chapters, read them again. It’s good to remind yourself of what happened in the class materials.

Studying for finals doesn’t have to be bad if you start early and plan accordingly. Starting with at least a week in advance will seriously get you at least a letter grade higher than if you start studying the night before. So, get your notes and books out and get to it. Winter break will soon be here and then you can relax and do nothing or go out with friends.

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