Final exams are right around the corner.
A little bit of planning can take you a long way, so consult these tips to make the most of your study time and ace your tests.
1. Plan ahead
Determine where and when your final exams are and what type of exams they are (multiple choice, short answer, open book/note, etc). If you are registered with Student Disability Services, provide your instructor with your letter of accommodation and plan for your exams. If you live in the residence halls, know when you are required to be out of your room and plan your move-out according to your final exam schedule.
2. Tie up any loose ends
Complete and submit any assignments you still have remaining for your courses so that you can focus your time and energy on studying for finals.
3. Find the right mindset
Intelligence and learning are developed over time, so focus on how you learn material to become more confident. Practice using the word “yet” when talking about your classes. “I haven’t learned this yet or I don’t understand this yet.” In time, you will make progress. Don’t forget to celebrate yourself and your successes, no matter how big or small.
4. Take care of yourself
Consistency is key. Stay on a set sleep schedule and get a full night of sleep. Try not to make any big changes in your routine. Know when you’re pushing yourself too much and take a study break if needed, maybe even check out the activities hosted at the Iowa Memorial Union. Stay hydrated!
5. Use your support systems
There are more than 40,000 students, faculty, and staff on campus. Lean on your friends, family, classmates, professors, and staff for help.
6. Preparing for exams
Assess your study strategies—what are you doing well and what can you do differently? Plan to space your studying between now and your scheduled finals. You could find a group of classmates and pick a night to teach each other concepts that you need clarity on.
If your exam is open book or open note, spend time familiarizing yourself with your materials and prep your notes section. At the end of the week, make a review document of the materials you learned—it makes a handy, custom study guide.
7. Use your resources early and often
Tap into campus resources such as Tutor Iowa, Help Centers, and Supplemental Instruction. If you want to meet with your instructor, check your syllabus and/or ICON for their office hours (drop-in hours).
8. Stick to your schedule
Believe it or not, it’s more beneficial to get more sleep than to cram for one more hour. If you are getting down to the wire, make sure to prioritize your time based on what will happen first or what you don’t understand as well. It’s better to spend smaller chunks of time studying without distractions than long stretches of studying with distractions, such as listening to music or having the TV on in the background.
9. Papers and projects are finals, too
Even if your exam week is light, papers and projects are just as important as taking a final test. Before turning in a paper, read it out loud to see if it makes sense, ask a friend to read it, or sit on a draft for a few hours before going back to it. Working backwards from the deadline also helps keep you on track. Decide when you want your final draft done, then plan the steps that will get you to that deadline. This can include picking the topic, doing research, creating an outline, developing a draft, reviewing, and making final edits.