It’s April and it is time for final exams in all Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions. When I was a student, April was an exciting month because it was spring and second semester was coming to an end. However, it was also a very stressful month because of final exams. Depending on how exams were scheduled, I was either done in a week or two or at the end of April. Below are 10 Practical Steps to Ace your finals exams. These steps enabled me graduate with a distinction from the University of Saskatchewan.
Create a Study Plan: Know your exams timetable. This will enable you plan your study time depending on the classes. Ideally it is best to start studying for exams before exams begin to avoid falling behind. Prioritize your studying based on strengths and weaknesses in courses and/or weight of the final exams to your overall grade.
Do not miss the last class for each course: If you have missed your classes all semester (although this is definitely not a good idea) you should not miss the last class for all your courses. This is because instructors recap the whole course in this class and draw attention to what students should focus on for the final exams.
Create/Join a Study Group or Study Partner: There is a saying that goes, “Two heads are better than one”. This is particularly true while you gain your education and especially when studying for final exams. If you don’t like studying in groups, you should at least consider having a study partner. This is because you can learn and better understand course content and concepts when explained by a fellow student. (This is if your study partner is taking your same course). On the other hand, study partner or classmate does not necessarily have to be someone in your same course. It could be someone studying for a different course however, having them around can be motivating enough to achieve those long hours of study.
Know your effective study times and stick to it: Some students have the ability to study all night without being tired and go in for exams and catch up on all their sleep after. Other students prefer to go to bed at their normal bedtime and wake up early to study. While there are other students that do not necessarily change their schedules during exams. It is important to know what would work for you and stick to it.
5. Don’t Just Read but Study: Studying is defined as “application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge, by reading, analysis, investigation, or reflection”. You stand a chance of scoring better grades from studying vs reading. To really ensure that you understand and can answer questions on the course content, it is important you test yourself before going in for your exams. Make notes as you read, it will further increase you ability to remember during exams.
6. Review old exams: Some professors repeat exam questions and this is great for students if they can find those old exams. In cases where they don’t repeat questions, you would still get a sense of how they test course content and this could guide your studying. However, if you have less than 3years of old exams questions from a particular course and professor, I would caution relying on the structure for studying.
7. Teach Classmates, Friends or Stuffed Animals: Nothing screams you are ready for an exam than your ability to teach your course material to classmate, friends and/or stuffed animals.
8.Eat Healthy: Your brain needs fuel to function well. Starving yourself while preparing for exams is highly discouraged. Drink a lot of water and eat a lot of fruits. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not your friend. Avoid it and your brain will thank you.
9. Get enough rest before your exams: Exams can be very demanding. Therefore it is important to ensure that you get enough rest to ensure you are not tired, sleepy or loosing concentration while writing the exams. This achievable with an effective study plan.
10. Have a Reward yourself once exams are over: Plan a trip, shopping, register for a show or concert. Basically anything that would make you happy and relaxed once exams is over. Creating rewards like these gives you something to look forward to and motivates you to sacrifice what ever it takes to be successful in your exams.
There you have it, my 10 practical step to ace your final exams :).
Do you have some other tips you used or are using to ace your final exams? Please feel free to share. I wish all students the very best as they embark on their final exams.