I KNOW this has happened to all of my student productivity babes out there. It's the week before finals and everything is going well. That's when it sinks in. It's one week before finals, and you haven't studied a single minute of your life for this. I know the feeling because I'm currently there. That's why I decided to make this post and teach you what you'll need to do in order to study for finals all in one week MINUS the hustle.
1. Organize your notes
This is huge. How else are we suppose to study?! We have absolutely no stinking clue what to study if there aren't any notes to go off of. If you haven't taken any notes, then I suggest you go through some of the important handouts or sections you learned about, and quickly compose the most useful information into a notebook or even a small study booklet. It's extra helpful if your professor handed out a study guide, but in college let's just face it - that doesn't happen much.
If you do have notes, then you need to make sure they are all in one place, and not in 5 different notebooks. Yes, even if this means you have to rewrite them. I actually recommend rewriting your notes because not only will it help you simplify the information, but it will also help you to remember the information better. Science.
2. Break it down by class
Chances are your finals are all on different days. What you need to do first is decide which class you need the most study time for, and which classes finals come first.
If for some reason all your finals are on the same day, then I would still decide which classes you need the most study time in. This way you are only studying the material you actually need to go over again. Your time (and grade) is precious so don't waste it on things you already know or don't need to know at all.
I know it has happened to you at some point where you study so hard for this upcoming test or final exam. Once you actually look at the test your facial expression probably looks like you just saw a ghost rather than your test because absolutely nothing you studied is on there. DON'T let that be you this time! Even if you have to ask your professor what will be on the exam so you can properly study.
3. Schedule time to study
You can prepare all you want, but fact of the matter is you're not going to actually get anything done if you don't schedule the time to study. I recommend working in about 30 minute increments and then taking a 5 or 10 minute break. To me this is the most effective when studying because you're actually scheduling a break between study sessions. If you want, you could do 30 minutes per topic and after your break switch to something else for that same class. I personally would suggest studying one class per day until the day before the exam.
The day before the exam I always do a full review session to make sure there's nothing more I need to get done or look over. I don't recommend cramming a ton of information into this day. The day before the final is meant to finalize that you know all the necessary information.
How much time you study is up to you, but I recommend at least 3 hours with breaks. Yeah, I know. Nobody wants to study for 3 hours a day, but if you do that you'll cover 9 topics in one day. Most exams are NOT cumulative, which means you only cover the topics after the midterm. This is usually only about 9 chapters or less anyways. If it is a cumulative test, which means from chapter 1 all the way to the end, then you can always revisit this class another day.
4. Study Materials
Unfortunately your notes are awesome, but there are probably better resources out there that you could use in addition to them. I would search the topic you're trying to study in quizlet if you like studying the flash card way. Sometimes there are even practice quizzes on there that people have made up that you can take as well. I did this for my bio class and it was one of the best choices I have ever made. Literally all the questions on the website were on my past quizzes and tests, so it was the perfect study tool.
Khan Academy is a great program for any math finals you may have as well. You search a topic and there are interactive articles, practice problems, and video tutorials for almost any topic you can think of when it comes to math.
When all else fails, try doing a quick YouTube search for your topic and there are tons of YouTube tutorials out there for virtually any subject you're looking for.
5. Prepping your work space
Believe it or not this is super important. Nothing is worse than having a super messy work space and not being able to find any study material. It's extremely hard to focus and study when your notes and packets are thrown in every single corner of your work space. Here are some things you can do to make sure your work space is study ready.
- Pick a quiet spot. I would recommend picking a spot with barley any noise. If you study with music keep it at a low volume so you're not more focused on that than your work.
- Clean your space. Don't leave your desk or space a cluttered mess. Like I said earlier, you'll spend more time shuffling through papers than actually studying if your materials are everywhere.
- Have everything you need near by. Gather all your materials and keep them off to the side. You don't want to interrupt your study session by having to get up and find a book or notebook.
- Keep food and water close. Again. You don't want to interrupt your study sessions to get up. Keeping an energizing snack and water nearby will help you focus as well. Nobody can focus when they're hungry.
Now the only thing left to do is to start studying! Good luck on your finals in the upcoming weeks, and I hope that you pass all your classes.