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Wellness & Success

7 Tips to Help You Study For (and Pass) Your Finals

2 females and male in comfy chairs studying.

Today seemed like an ordinary day when you woke up, until you looked at your calendar. It’s December and everyone knows what that means–Finals Time! It’s natural to get anxious or stressed out thinking about the all work you need to complete or the tests you have to take before the semester ends, but it’s something you have to do. Finals Time doesn’t have to be as hectic as it’s made out to be as long as you know how to face it. We’ve offered study tips here before, and now, we’ve put together some new and updated tips to reduce your stress levels and increase your grades!

1. Organization is key – Before you sit down and study you need to make sure you create a schedule for yourself. Setting times for studying will help keep you on track and focused. This way you can break down assignments and see exactly what needs to be done for each class. It will make everything a lot more manageable and keep down your procrastination. In other words NO CRAMMING!

2. Prioritize Tests – You know not all tests are created equal, and you know which classes you need to focus on more than others. By giving more attention to the tests in classes you have more difficulty in, you give yourself an opportunity to find ways to better your grades.

3. Study in intervals Managing your time is critical in college. It’s best to study material in 20-50 minute blocks of time, so that you do not tire out from one subject. In this way you can concentrate fully on the topic and get the most effective use of your time. Then you can take a 5-10 minute break and move on to a different topic.

4. Eat (Healthy) Snacks – Ditch the potato chips and reach for something just as delicious and even better for you! Eat fruits like berries and apples which reduce the levels of toxins in your bloodstream and improve memory function. Try Greek yogurt, which is packed with protein or reward yourself with dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants and improves your ability to concentrate. Also remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

5. Turn Down the Tunes – Although it’s fun to jam to your favorite tunes while studying your algebra (kidding!), it’s not the best way to retain information. If you can’t completely ditch your music, try listening to soft, instrumental music like classical or jazz to keep focused on memory and learning.

6. Test yourself – Instead of staring at your textbook trying to soak up information, you actually need to engage with your studies. Testing yourself using flashcards or taking practice tests are great ways to prepare yourself for the real exams. This way you can see how much you truly understand, and what you need to go back and pay more attention to. You can even review tests from earlier in the semester to review select topics and questions.

7. Get some sleep! – Rest is the most important part of the studying process. So try not to pull all nighters (you won’t have to if you follow tip # 1) and get to bed before your exam. Try to get 6-8 hours worth of sleep to help relieve stress, increase alertness and improve focus!

Atiba Archibald

Written by Atiba Archibald

Atiba was an intern with SUNY's Office of New Media, who became a University at Albany graduate in English with a minor in Communications.

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There are 4 comments

  • A very useful article for all students. I just want to add that one of the most important things when studying for a test is to not lose focus. Studies show that the cleaner your room is the more focused and productive you are. Before you sit down with your books spend some time tidying up the place and remove everything that might distract you.

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      It can be notoriously expensive but it doesn’t mean all off-campus are cheaper. You need to explore the options and talk to the accommodation experts to get the desired location with all modern amenities at reasonable budget and offers.
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  • Julie says:

    These tips are great. However, I would like to point out, not all of us are teenagers anymore. There are more and more adults- with families, going back to school. We think we have a scheduled time to study, but something comes up. It may be a sick child, have to work late, or a child with disabilities having a bad day. Scheduled times just don’t happen! Life does.
    For these Parents, I recommend You have a support system when things get stressful. Open Your books or notes to what You want study, have all supplies at hand( note cards, pencils/ pens, etc.) and look over things. Then make a phone call to a BF, Mom/Dad, etc. Destress! Then go study! Repeat if necessary with same or different person. Also, animals are Great! Take the dog for a fifteen minute walk, pet the cat, or play Apples to Apples with the family for a good laugh! Good Luck to All of You!!! Smile, You Can Do It!!!! 😀

  • Daniel says:

    great tips

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