8 Tips to Conquer Finals Study Sessions

8 Tips to Conquer Finals Study Sessions

With finals season in full swing, the pressure to excel can feel overwhelming. While this can sound daunting, don’t worry! If prepared with strategic approaches, you can get more out of your study sessions and, ultimately, conquer final exams. 

Reading 8 Tips to Conquer Finals Study Sessions 5 minutes Next Self-Care During Finals Season (And Why It Matters)

The following eight strategies can optimize your finals prep and get you closer to the success you deserve. So, grab your notes and dive in – it's time to unlock the full potential of your exam study sessions.

  1. Start Early

We know this is known – but we would be remiss if we didn’t reiterate the importance of timing. Procrastination will only add to your stress, and having the right amount of time to study, without cramming or pulling all-nighters, is always in your best interest. Never underestimate the power of a head start!

  1. Maintain Focus

When setting up your study scenario, find a location that allows you to maintain focus. This may mean locking up your phone to eliminate distractions or removing yourself from other students to maintain your focus on your studies.

Brainscape recommends setting up a “study bubble,” which is a distraction-free zone void of avoidable disruptions (certain people, pets, your phone, etc.). When preparing your area, have all materials and/or study supplies needed already present, so you don’t have any excuses to leave your study bubble. This includes everything from course material and textbooks to highlighters and coffee.

  1. Create a Study Guide

A study guide can help ensure you’re covering all the material you need to, and you won’t overlook any important areas. While these can be provided by professors, they are most often a loose guide, and you should add additional notes of what was focused on in the course to ensure you’re diving into the subject matter as deeply as necessary. The Princeton Review suggests students categorize study material in order of “definitely,” “probably” and “might be” on the exam, prioritizing and working your way from “definitely” toward “might be.”

  1. Group Study Sessions

Group study sessions are a great way to prep for your exams. Not only are you able to discuss the material, but you’re also commiserating with a support system during a stressful time. Studying with other students can be beneficial for all parties involved. A great way to learn is identifying which concepts you’re a bit fuzzy on and asking others to explain it to you. They may be able to explain it in clearer terms than the textbook or professor did. Not only will this help you address what you don’t know, but it will help fellow students learn by teaching.

That said, it’s not always the best strategy to study with friends. It can often lead to distraction and side conversations. When creating a study group, consider which students will help you maintain your study goals, understand the material, and stay on task.

  1. Stay Well

We understand that this is easier said than done during crunch time. That said, taking breaks, staying well rested and fed with energizing study snacks can make a huge difference in whether you soak up the material. A hungry body and exhausted brain is not one that’s ready to learn and retain new information.

  1. Follow a Study Schedule

Creating a study schedule can help you stay on track and ensure that you’re devoting enough time to each subject and/or course. That said, keep it balanced with different types of coursework each day.

Why? According to BestColleges, “When creating a schedule, avoid devoting entire days to material from one class. Breaking up your schedule into multiple shorter study sessions can actually improve retention.”

It's also beneficial to slate in break times to refuel and recharge (bathroom, snack/water/coffee breaks), so you can avoid study burnout.

  1. Identify What Works for You

Many study methods are “proven” to work, but they only have value if they're the methods that work specifically for you. Study strategies are not one-size-fits-all, and it’s important to consider how you learn best. Is it by teaching? Repetition? Visual tools, like flash cards and color coding? Once you identify what works best for you, prioritize that method, and incorporate it into your studies. Incorporate study tools that work for you, whether that means a fidget toy to avoid getting up, sticky tabs to keep things organized, or highlighters to focus on what’s important.

  1. Prioritize Your Study Time

You may not need to spend the same amount of time preparing for each exam, and that’s okay! Create a list of all the finals you need to prep for and rate your confidence level in each. Slate time that coordinates with each confidence level. For example, devote more study time focusing on the subjects you’re least confident in. This does not mean you should skip studying for subjects you do well in—simply focus more time on subjects that you may need a little more help with.

As you navigate the challenges that come with finals prep, remember that success is not solely measured by the number of hours spent hunched over textbooks, but by the effectiveness of your approach. By implementing these eight key strategiesfrom getting a head start to personalized study methods—you're not just preparing for final exams; you're fostering a mindset of resilience and adaptability that will serve you well beyond the classroom.

So, stay focused, stay well, and trust in your ability to conquer those finals. You've got this!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.