5 Tips for Studying for Finals

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It's certainly no big secret that studying for finals can be a stressful experience. What's the best way to go about it? Are there certain study methods that work better than others? Fortunately, we've compiled five top-notch tips that can make studying for finals more efficient and less overwhelming.

Time for Finals

Whether you're in college or still in high school, final exams are something that you'll probably have to face whether you like it or not. And if you're like most students, just the thought of finals is enough to make your head spin. However, if you properly prepare yourself, finals don't have to be as scary and terrible as they're typically made out to be. Keep reading for five useful tips that can help boost your study power when you're studying for finals.

male student studying for finals with many books

1. Manage Your Time Wisely

One of the most important tips to remember when studying for finals is that time management is key. Avoid cramming at all costs. Although there will always be those last-minute study sessions, try your very best to avoid cramming all of your studying into long blocks without breaks, such as all-nighters.

Instead, consider studying for finals in shorter, balanced intervals (think 30-60 minutes) and take short (but reasonable) breathers in between to give your brain some time to digest and retain the information. Cramming has been known to cause anxiety and stress that can actually end up hurting your grade, not to mention your health.

2. Explain It to Someone Else

Our next tip for studying for finals focuses on explaining the information you're studying to someone else to see how well you really know it. Sometimes we think we have a topic or subject down in our heads or on paper, but when it comes to explaining it in our own words, it's not so easy or clear.

Try to link up with a study buddy or someone who knows the information well, such as a teacher's aide, who can help you study smart. Visit each topic or subject and have them quiz you to see how well you can verbally explain the concepts that will be covered on the final exam. This will quickly let you know which topics you're proficient in and which ones could use a little more attention.

student studying for finals in the library

3. Switch Up Your Surroundings

As you're studying for finals, it can be easy to fall into the same monotonous routine and study in the same place all the time—think your room, the library, etc. However, a New York Times article suggests that switching up your surroundings as you study can actually help you remember the information better. Apparently, this is because your brain subconsciously makes connections with what it's studying and the background in which the studying is taking place. So, why not give this tip a try and see if it can help you out?

4. Minimize Distractions

Distractions come in several forms, but they usually have similar ill effects—lack of focus and concentration, stress, anxiety, and so on. This is why you must make it a point to minimize distractions while you're studying for finals if you want to remember the material and be successful.

Maybe it's something simple like music coming from the other room that has you distracted, or perhaps it's something more serious like relationship issues with your significant other. Whatever the case may be, it can negatively affect not only your studying, but your final exam scores as well. If you have any distractions, try to address them immediately so that you can turn your focus to where it needs to be. If there are others involved, try to explain politely that you need to be able to study in a peaceful environment with minimal distractions.

students eating healthy

5. Make Your Health a Priority

Health has a profound influence on learning, and as much as you might not want to hear it, a healthy body and mind can really make all the difference when it comes to studying for finals and test time. In the weeks leading up to finals, try to manage your stress, and make it a point to get adequate rest and proper nutrition. Do your best to eat foods that contain high levels of antioxidants (think fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains), which can ward off infections and free radicals that can threaten your well-being.

This is one of the most important tips to remember on exam days, as well. Make sure you get a good rest and eat a balanced breakfast that fuels your mind and keeps you full. You don't want a growling stomach to interrupt your finals!

happy male student studying for finals

Time to Study

All of these tips can be very helpful when you're studying for finals, but ultimately, a positive attitude can go a very long way if you want to be successful. By keeping these tips in mind and maintaining a bright outlook, hopefully you'll find that finals don't have to be as stressful as you previously thought.

Want to be even more prepared for those final exams? Study.com offers student memberships that give you access to thousands of engaging video lessons in every subject.

By Erin Riskey
April 2018
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