6 Tips for Last-Minute Finals Studying

In a perfect world, your life is completely under control right now, and you’re ready to tackle all those final exams before the holiday break.

And in the real world? Yeah, that’s not always the case.

If you find yourself in need of some cram sessions (hey, it happens), we’ve got your back with a few last-minute study tips to help you survive finals season and get to that long awaited holiday break in one piece.


Studying Is Your Life (At Least This Week).

First things first. If you’ve only got a few days (or hours) until a major exam, you need to make sure you have a clear schedule to do nothing but study. Cancel any planned meetups with friends, switch a shift at work if you have to, and avoid driving back and forth if at all possible. If you’re worried about feeling pressured to answer texts, send out a message beforehand to let your friends and family know you’re zoning out of your social life for a bit to get some studying done.


Avoid Distractions.

A quiet spot is a requirement for any type of study session, but it’s especially crucial when you’re getting ready to cram for an exam. Find a peaceful place on or near campus where there’s minimal talking and you’re not likely to run into anyone who may distract you. Then gather all your necessary study materials there so you don’t have to go back and forth between your room or dorm.


Seeing Is Believing…and Remembering.

There’s a reason flashcards are such a popular study method — they work! Use them for last-minute memorization of key terms, formulas and other important information. The best part is, if you get all the information you need onto flashcards, you won’t have to carry around a textbook or binder as you review the information on the way to an exam.


Notes Are Your New Best Friend.

If you need to start studying for an exam that’s less than a few days away, rereading each chapter of the book may no longer be your best option. Instead, use class study guides to highlight the most important parts of your notes and memorize as much as possible. Pay special attention to anything your professor hinted could be on the final exam.


Skim — It’s Not Just a Variety of Milk.

While you don’t want to spend time rereading entire chapters in your textbook when you’re pressed for time, it’s still a good idea to keep it nearby as you study. Skim through the titles and subtitles of every section if they’re missing from your notes, as these are likely to contain the most important themes of each chapter. If your textbook provides chapter summaries, it’s also a good idea to read through these to make sure you have a good understanding of the material.


Remember, History Repeats Itself.

If your final is cumulative, review old study guides (and exams if you have them) from the class to help remind you of what you studied earlier in the course. Since cumulative multiple-choice finals often repeat questions from past exams, a good idea is to highlight each question and correct answer while ignoring all the wrong options to avoid confusing yourself.

By Priscilla Aceves

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