Finals are just around the corner, and for many of us it may feel like crunch time. No matter what classes you’re taking this semester, these tips can help you prepare, stay focused and ace your finals.
Before your exams
The most effective way to prepare for exams is to start early. Give yourself plenty of time to study, get consistent sleep and take regular breaks. Keep in mind that people study, learn and retain information in different ways. Study habits that work for your classmates or friends may not necessarily work for you. If you’re not sure how to make the most of your study time, try these helpful tactics.
During your exams
Have you ever sat down for an exam and felt like you’ve suddenly forgotten everything you studied last night? Here are a few strategies to help you stay cool, calm and collected during high-stress exams.
As you wait to start your exam, consider doing a quick guided breathing exercise or meditation. You can use an app or follow the square breathing technique below. Remember that this technique can also be used during your exam if you start to feel anxious or stressed.
Practice this technique throughout the day to help you remember the steps. It’s okay to repeat as often as needed. If you’re feeling lightheaded, try to breathe more slowly.
You can also follow along with our Instagram Reel to practice this technique.
- Try to keep track of how much time you’re spending on each question and how much time you have left to set a good pace for yourself throughout the exam. This can help you determine how much time you can spend on the remaining questions.
- If you’re struggling with a specific question, skip it for now and come back to it later. This will help you stay on track and not spend too much time on one question.
- You can also think of your exam in terms of milestones. For instance, you might want to set a goal of being halfway through once your time is halfway over.
- If possible, try to give yourself enough time to review your answers before the end of the exam time. This will help you catch mistakes or answer questions you may have skipped before.
Look for question prompts
- Read each question carefully. Underline key words or phrases that can help you select the right answer. Some examples may include, “Provide three examples…”, “Identify which of the following did not occur…”, etc.
- If you’re taking an exam online, you can use your cursor to highlight keywords to check your understanding before answering the question.
After your exam
For many of us, finishing an exam can leave us feeling relieved, anxious or a little bit of both. Regardless of what you’re feeling, allow yourself to disconnect from the test in an intentional way.
Disconnecting intentionally can help relieve the heightened emotions we may have experienced during finals. It also allows us to celebrate our successes and appreciate how far we’ve made it this semester.