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Finals Study Tips

Finals Study Tips      With final exams just around the corner, almost everyone at South is in full-on study mode.  However, many of us are wondering if we could be making better use of our time and studying differently in order to retain more information.  Compiled below are the best study suggestions submitted by our readers and authors in order to help you ace your exams.\

  • Consider where you study.  Your surroundings can help or hinder you.  Concentration is key, and the environment you are in will play a big role in how concentrated you are.  If it is too noisy, or there are too many distractions, relocate to somewhere more secluded.
  • Make flash cards for things you need to memorize.  This can be done on physical index cards or on websites such as Quizlet.
  • Make connections between ideas, individual pieces of information, and any overarching course themes.  If a topic is hard to grasp because it seems distant, try making connections to your daily life in order for you to better understand it.
  • Take a practice test before you begin studying to see what topics you need to focus on.  Knowing which topics you are stronger and weaker in allows you to understand what you should spend the most time on.  In addition, this will give you a feel for what the test will be like and expose you to the ways questions will be asked.
  • Have a plan.  Taking practice tests can help with this, but even if you do not take them you can still organize your studying.  Deciding what day and time you will look into each topic will make it easier when you go to start studying. On top of that, you will be able to figure how much time you can realistically spend working on each subject.
  • Take things one step at a time.  If you try to study everything at once, it will all become a jumbled mess.  Pick a topic, sit down, and focus on it until you feel ready to move on. Avoid rushing through several units, particularly in history where this can cause you to confuse dates and people.
  • Create outlines.  Go topic by topic through each unit and pull out the overall themes and most important facts.  List any vocabulary that relates to each topic and add diagrams, graphs, or maps to help clarify other information.
  • Study with friends.  Talk through each subject.  Share the connections you made and throw out any questions you have.  Write down any points that they have that you did not. Also discuss what each of you thinks the main focus of the unit was.  Just be sure that you are actually studying. Friends can sometimes be more distracting than helpful.
  • Teach the information to someone else.  Several studies demonstrated that if you can teach a subject to someone, you really understand it.  It makes sense: if someone is able to understand a topic based solely on your explanation, then that explanation must be strong and from someone who knows what they are doing.
  • Take care of yourself.  On the day of the test, and in the days leading up to it, make sure that you are taking good care of yourself.  Do not get so wrapped up in studying that you forget the basic human needs. Get sleep before the exams, eat breakfast, drink water, and even have a five-minute chat with friends before the exam (discussing something other than how nervous you are!).  All of these things will help you feel more relaxed and better prepared when you sit down to take the exam.

     Hopefully some of these tips will help you in your studying.  Good luck on all your finals, and remember: summer is almost here!

Victoria Reiter