Finals Week Survival Tips

Finals week is probably the most anticipated week of a semester for any student. Most have studied, completed homework and learned tons of new information that is then put to the test during a final exam which counts for a large portion of a final grade. The week also has a ton of positive anxiousness attached to it because the end of the fall term means packing up and getting to go home for the holidays. A majority of students have procrastinated studying and even completing homework assignments throughout the semester, but finals are nothing to mess with. Here are a few of the best tips I rounded up for your final exam preparation and you can follow the links for more information.

  1. Vary Study Materials: It’s always a good idea to start studying by taking notes as you read the exam’s covered chapters, and then during lecture take notes about the professor’s important points that you may have missed while reading. Taking these notes and then typing and creating your own personal “study guide” is a very good study method.  Next use the created study guide to make flashcards to study. The point is to vary the types of materials used, thus varying the type of studying, and area of the brain used to retain the information. By reading, writing, listening, typing and then practicing the important information out loud, students study the information in five different ways, activating memory for any type of learner. Dorothy, from Prep in Your Step blog, explains how to reenact her perfected method of studying for tests.
  1. Listen to music: No I don’t mean Nick Jonas, according to some studies, setting your Pandora station to “classical for studying radio” will activate both the right and left sides of the brain in listeners. The Stimulation of both sides is linked to increased recall, and so listening while studying can help increase the likelihood that you will retain the relevant information. For tips on finding your studying music style visit
  1. Alternate Study Spots: New York Times explained in an article published a few years back that rather than sticking to one study spot students should switch up their location when reviewing for exams. NCU’s campus although small, offers a wide variety of places to study for your finals. There is always the library, but also the blue room and the rug room. If you are looking for a unique study atmosphere, try the Chapel lobby where there are comfortable seats and tables, and festive Christmas decorations. Looking for comfort? The sectional couches in the Mec lobby provide a nice place to lounge while reading, doing homework, studying or working on your laptop. If you are a commuter and are looking for a quiet place to get away from all of the on campus residents, the commuter lounge, upstairs next to the chapel lobby, has several couches and a large table.
  1. Practice Tests: If students have access to the classroom where they will be taking their final, there have been positive links to students that reenact the test beforehand to reduce test anxiety. A perfect strategy is to go online and look for your textbook’s website through Google. Some of the more common publishers create websites for individual textbooks with online quizzes, flashcards and practice exams that can be printed off. If you prefer flash cards is a great resource where you can create and save different sets of flashcards. The best part is that they also have an app for smartphones, so that you can study on the go.
  1. Study in Chunks: According to Dartmouth Academic Skills Center students should study in 20-50 minute increments, with 5-10 minute breaks in between each session. Cramming is tempting and sometimes inevitable, but it causes more stress on your memory and in most cases little to no sleep.

The key to these study tips is to learn what works for you! Get as much sleep as possible this week, this weekend and throughout next week to rejuvenate your body. On test days go through your normal routines for the day, such as coffee, morning workout and breakfast and try not to cram study, this will relieve stress and keep your mind relaxed in the hours before your final exams. I wish everyone the best of luck next week and safe travels home for the holidays.

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