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Student Success - Evansville: Final Exam Study Tips

How to Win at Finals...

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On Test Day

  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Eat breakfast
  • Arrive early
  • Bring all needed supplies.  Bluebook, scantron, calculator, watch, pencils, extra pencils...
  • Go to the bathroom before the test
  • Read all the test instructions carefully
  • Make a plan for you time.  Pace yourself, relax and use your time effectively.
  • Stay for the entire time allotted.  You may want to finish as fast as you can and leave, but it is a better idea to use all of your time to make sure that your work is the best it can be.  Check your answers, proofread your essay, or add additional points to your essay.

Stress Relief Tips

  • Take a Yoga/Stretching Break
  • Pet a Dog
  • Take a Walk
  • Have a 5 minute Dance Party
  • Get a Massage
  • Play a Game
  • Do a Craft
  • Watch a Funny Show
  • Pop Bubble Wrap

 

Manage Your Time

  • Make a study schedule.  Write out a schedule that list all of your exams and when they are, then schedule your study time appropriately.  You may also find that you don't have to study for each exam for the same amount of time.  Some exams may be more difficult and require more study time while other exams may be easier or cover material that you are familiar with.  And don't forget to schedule in breaks, meals, and sleep.
  • Start studying early.  Don't wait til the last minute to study.  Give yourself plenty of time.  Our brains retain more information if we study over a longer period of time with repetition.
  • Be a hermit.  Find a corner of the library and move in.  You can take a few weeks off from social outings, video games, and text message marathons.  

Don't Cram!

  • Stick to your study schedule.  You will do much better on your test if you space your studying out instead of just staying up the entire might before the test with your nose in your text book and you won't be so exhausted the next day that you can't concentrate on the exam.

  • Cramming can produce anxiety and is not helpful in trying to learn a large amount of material.  Make the process less stressful and avoid last minute cramming.

Avoid Distractions

  • Find a quiet place to study.  Your house, Carter Library, a quiet corner, etc..  Find a place where you can study without distractions.  
  • Don't multitask while you study.  We think that we're are great at multitasking, but in reality we're not.  You might find yourself wanting to listen to music, or get on the Internet, or text with friends while you study.  Resist!  For every 5 hours that you study while multitasking, you are most likely only getting 1 hour of actual studying done.  So do yourself a favor and save that text message for later.

 

Study in Groups...or Not

  • Carefully consider whether studying in a group is right for you.  
  • Meet with your group at the Carter Library. Use one of our three group study rooms, complete with ample table space, white boards and dry erase markers available use.
  • Study groups need to be motivating, not distracting
  • Study groups aren't for everyone.  Don't feel like you are going to do terribly if you don't like studying in a group.  Everyone is different.

Review Review Review

  • Review old test.  Re-reading your text book isn't really feasible, but reviewing your previous tests is.  If you can, make copies of previous tests, white out the answers, and copy each test again.  You now have a set of practice tests.  Test yourself and see what you need to review further.  Hit the books and then test yourself again until you get a perfect score. (Don't white out the original test or you won't have an answer key!)
  • If your professor offers a study guide, use it. 
  • Go to review sessions.  
  • Go to office hours.  Talk to your professor about the test.  Make sure you understand what format the test is, if it is cumulative, etc.  

Take Study Breaks

  • You're only human and your brain can't study continuously.  Give it a break.  Take a walk, read a book, play a game.  Give yourself a 10-15 minute break for every hour of studying or a 30 minute break for every two hours.

Eat Right

  • Eat right.  Skip the sugar, which will make you crash.
  • Go easy on the caffeine.
  • Try snacks like granola bars, fruits, and veggies.  
  • Keep your energy up.  If you are studying for long periods of time, eat some protein.

Excercise

  • Set aside time for some form of exercise.  Even a 10 minute walk will leave you calmer and more focused.

Sleep

  • Don't Skip Sleep!!!
  • All-nighters are not a good thing and can actually damage your grade.  You will be too tired to concentrate and a tired mind has trouble recalling information.
  • Don't forget to put sleep in your study schedule.  You will be able to study more effectively if you are well rested and you will be better able remember the information that you study.

Take it Easy

  • It is only a test.  Cut yourself some slack and try to relax.
  • Think positively.  You are going to do great!
  • When the test is over just let it go.  It won't do you any good to stress yourself out after the test is over.  Instead, reward yourself for making it through.