Seeing as I’m only finishing my freshman year of college, I’m not exactly an expert on how to study for college finals. But this isn’t my first trip to finals-week-hell. This is the system that I’ve found most effective since my freshman year of high school. I used to make study schedules for anyone who asked, color-coded and specified to difficulty of class and time needed… I do the same thing for myself now.
- Know what you need to study
Before Dead Week, I sit down with all my syllabi and figure out what my tests are going to be on. Some finals, like my geology final this semester, are cumulative. Others, like psychology, are just a normal test on new material. Figuring out what I actually need to review takes away a lot of the impending doom associated with dead week.
- Make a study plan.
This is the bulk of what I usually need to make myself feel better about the stress of finals. This turns into a Word document of a comprehensive daily todo list of everything that I need to study that day. This is what I’ve found works best for me, but others find other plans work better. My roommates prints out a calendar and posts it in our room to help her keep track of everything as seen above. [Note the leftover heart decoration from Valentine’s Day!!]
- Organize your material.
Keeping old flashcards is a great way to stay on top of material when preparing for a cumulative final. I’ve kept all my geology flashcards from this semester and it makes it a lot easier to prepare for this test. If flashcards aren’t your thing, websites like Quizlet have a way to make online flashcards. They even have an app that let’s you access them from a mobile device, essentially making them portable, electronic flashcards. I also have a huge binder where I file all my lecture notes and separate folders on my computer for different classes. Organization is definitely something that makes me a better student.
- Find your study spot and don’t be afraid to depend on caffeine for a little while.
Ideally, one would know where they study best before finals week or dead week. I’m a library studier. I can spend all day in my dorm getting nothing done, but the minute I step in the library I instantly work harder and gain new motivation. I spend pretty much all of dead week and finals week in the library. I know people who can only study at their sorority house, others work best in their room or on the quad. Also, coffee is your friend. Dead week is my favorite because the coffee shop on the first floor of the library opens 24 hours a day. Hollllla!
- Stay motivated.
Keep in mind everything that you’re working for! I have a private board on my Pinterest account that is full of inspirational sayings to help keep me motivated when I need a little boost. Even my phone background is a motivational saying. Pictured below in my current one. How stinkin’ cute is that???
Good luck to everyone taking finals this week and within the next few weeks!