Preparing for Finals Final Exam Prep

Plan your work, and work your plan, is the best way to get through the stressful period of end-of-year finals. Even though it seems like weeks away, it’s a good idea to start thinking about one’s approach to tackling final exams, as science reveals that the sooner one starts prepping the better. 

By starting their studying early, students can reduce the likelihood of experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, while simultaneously increasing their chances of achieving a more favorable outcome.

To get the best results on these important exams,  follow these seven steps and start preparing now!

Avoid cramming at all costs.

Cramming causes needless anxiety – which in turn lowers one’s retention ability, so resolve to start prepping for exams now – the sooner the better. Be determined that you won’t cram. Starting to study early will always result in better performance.

Talk to your teachers.

Schedule time before or after class to check in with your teachers to find out what will be on the exams. Will the exams cover the whole year or just the material learned after the midterms? In addition to getting advanced insight into what will be covered, you may also earn brownie points for being diligent and conscientious.

Don’t wait. Start creating your own study guides.

Don’t wait for the teacher to give you a study guide. Make one yourself, and you’ll start the studying process that much sooner. Organize your materials, such as past notes, quizzes, and tests, and use that as a foundation, along with the insight you gleaned from your teachers. 

Quiz yourself.

Write out potential questions you think are likely to be on the test. This will help you focus and zero in on the important concepts. Quizzing also actively engages you in the study process, which in turn will help you remember the material on test day.

Put together a calendar for your studying.

Chunk out the work and study in small increments over time. Write out exactly what you are going to study, how, and when. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Avoid cramming at all costs. (See #1 above!) Putting together a study schedule will ensure that each area will be covered, which will ultimately impact your test performance. 

When studying, eliminate ALL distractions.

The harmful effects of multitasking are undeniable:

  • Multitasking can increase one’s stress levels.
  • Students who multitasked while doing homework had to study longer, and … had lower grades on average than their peers who multitasked less. (University of Connecticut 2015)
  • Participants who multitask the most are distracted by unimportant information. (Stanford University 2009)

Eat and sleep.

Don’t ignore what hundreds of researchers have proven: Getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet can help you stay focused and alert during your exams. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.


The key takeaway for prepping and studying for finals is: don’t wait! Get into gear now, connect with your teachers, map out a detailed plan of how and when you are going to study and pace your studying over time. If you get a jump on your studying now, not only will much stress and anxiety be reduced, but there is a strong chance that your performance will be positive.

Want more strategies to excel on final exam test day? Check out our blog post: 5 Ways Quizzes Will Help You Ace Tests.

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7 Ways to Get a Jump on Preparing for Finals