How to prepare for finals before it’s too late

by Kate Chamberlin

Finals week is easily the most dreaded week on every campus.



most students, it includes late nights, long papers and cramming,

which can really take a toll on your mental and physical health.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.



is no law stating that you can only start cramming for tests during

dead week. In fact – if you choose to start preparing now you might

not have to cram at all. Here are some tips on how to ace those

finals without breaking a sweat.



of being in college is learning about yourself: how you learn, how

you study, how you handle stress, etc. Last minute studying for

tests is part of the campus culture, so if you start studying now

you will have to turn off the mind games.



perfectly normal to prepare for a big event way in advance. You

wouldn’t go to prom without buying a dress/tuxedo ahead of time;

you wouldn’t head off to college without having everything you

need, so you certainly shouldn’t take a final exam without a lot of

preparation either.


Gather all your materials. Study sessions are much more effective

when you don’t have to get up every five minutes for something you

need. Even if you don’t plan to crack open a certain textbook and

only use your notes, grab the book just in case you change your




your finals schedule nearby so you know which order to study in.

Before you start studying, you need to know which type of final to

study for. Are they cumulative? Will they be papers or tests? Ask

your professors in advance and it will help focus your




back and review past material. Let’s be honest, the stuff you

learned early in the semester is probably long forgotten, or at

least getting pretty fuzzy. Whether the exam is cumulative or not,

there’s a reason you learned the material early in the



Usually, everything you learn later in the semester is somehow

based off of concepts and historical events that you learned about

previously. It will be easier to make sense of the new material if

you understand the old stuff.


Schedule, schedule and schedule. Brainstorm how long it might take

you to get through notes and chapters for each class. To avoid last

minute cramming, create a study schedule by setting aside a couple

extra hours each night.



you want to reread five chapters before the test, distribute that

time accordingly. Part of this schedule should be making a plan of

what you want to accomplish every night or every week. Make it a

priority to at least review material for each class within a three

day timeframe.



you originally planned to study at a certain time, train yourself

to follow through with it.



groups. Did you miss a class sometime last month? Chances are, you

know someone in that class who will gladly lend you their




together and review what both of you wrote down from each class

period. Studying together helps you when you physically talk

through the class material.



most effective way to relearn and study is by not only seeing the

material in your notes, but also rewriting them and saying them out




it up. Studying before dead week is definitely out of the norm, and

you deserve to be rewarded from time to time. Set aside some extra

money for coffee runs and snacks. You’ll be spending a lot more

time studying until finals week is over, so make your environment

as comfortable as possible.



things consistent. One of the most important things to remember

when you’re studying, is that you should study how to you will take

the test.



won’t be able to listen to music while you take an exam, so it

won’t be beneficial to listen to it when you’re preparing. If you

chew gum, pop in a piece during your nightly study time. Just

remember to grab a piece when heading to your final exam. The

consistency will help jog your memory and put you in the right

state of mind.



over study. When dead week and finals week finally roll around,

you’re most likely pretty ready for the exams. This week it’s

important to change up your study habits.



now you know the material so a quick review every couple of nights,

and then the day before the test will suffice.



those finals. A good test-taker not only keeps their mind at its

peak but keeps their body in top shape, too. The last two weeks of

the semester will be hectic, and you don’t need any more stress

than normal.



sure to get plenty of rest and fill your body with healthy foods

and fluids.


Congratulations, by sticking to these tips and preparing in

advance, you are on your way to a stress-free and effective finals

week where you’ll surely do great on your exams. Have confidence,

take deep breaths and remember that it’s never too early to study

for a test.