Finals are fast approaching, and if you want to be the hero in your final college experience you had better start prepping now. If you are frozen in fear of your impending exams—either because this is your first go around or because your last batch of finals went, well … let’s just say your efforts could use some improvement—never fear. We’ve assembled a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts for how to prepare for college finals that will keep you from being the zero once your favorite pen takes the ready when the testing hour strikes. Take a look at these tips on how to study and succeed.
- Don’t cram. Odds are you won’t remember all the info you are trying to wedge into your brain cells, and you’ll wind up watching YouTube instead of studying, according to Brittany in “Final Exams Dos and Don’ts” posted on December 7, 2009, for College Candy. “Don’t be that person,” she wrote. “Nobody likes that person. Your GPA won’t like that person.”
- Don’t rely on energy drinks, etc. Getting all jacked up on caffeine won’t help. You’ll be better off scheduling some sleep.
- Don’t let your friends tempt you. Their exam schedules are probably different from yours. So yes, they may be out having fun, while you’re studying. Buckle down and study anyway. Do you want to still be taking classes for the fifth or sixth year while they’re out starting their careers?
- Don’t procrastinate. Even if you have days until your exam, starting to study early, rather than putting it off, sure as heck isn’t going to hurt your grade, now is it?
- Do make a plan. Laura Morrison suggested scheduling out study tasks in a December 14, 2011, post “From the Seniors: Do’s and Don’t’s of Finals” for College Magazine. “You have to be studying multiple things at a time,” she wrote, “which can be overwhelming so I really like to start early and schedule.”
- Do ask your professors questions. This can be from what format the exam will be to their recommendations for what to study. After all, they are the ones creating the final, so why not pick their brains a bit?
- Do join a study group. As J. P. Muncks shared in the same College Magazine article, “Friends of yours can help you with concepts you don’t understand.” Use their knowledge.
- Do get some exercise. Your brain needs a break, and the activity will help it absorb all you have been studying.
- Do plan to party when your finals are over. Because if you have followed all of these do’s and don’ts, then the odds are you aced those exams and you now have reason to celebrate!
Finally—the big picture
Not to downplay the importance of your exams in the grand scheme of your college experience, but if you don’t do as well as you had hoped on them, does that mean you are doomed to a life of asking, “do you want fries with that?” Not necessarily, at least not according to “This is the Age of Educational Anxiety” by Ed Smith, published on August 23, 2013, in the New Statesman.
Smith wrote that while we believe that academic achievement correlates to how successful we are in life, it might matter much less than we think. He quoted a New York Times interview with Laszlo Bock, senior vice-president of people operations at Google, who said that GPA and test scores offer no insight into how Google employees perform at their jobs.
Whew! So don’t sweat it if you aren’t sporting an off-the-chart GPA (but don’t blow off your college finals either—or you’ll have to deal with your parents). Part of how to prepare for college finals is recognizing that grades matter, sure, but they aren’t everything. Now go hit the books.
What has helped you prepare for college finals? What hasn’t worked? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.