Finals Prep - Study Tips + Tricks I've Picked Up in College

December 2, 2018

Finals season is here and everyone's stress levels are through the roof. I had an exam on Thursday that actually wasn't even a final, how rude right? 
Since my last post about how to prepare for exam season was one of my best performing posts to date, (check it out here if you haven't read it yet) I wanted to share an updated version with all the new tips and tricks I've picked up in the last 2 years and talk about how my studying methods have changed. 
I approach each class a little differently because I've found that what works best for one class doesn't always work best for another. What works for me might not work for you. It can take a little bit of trial and error to find what works best, but the more techniques you're exposed to the easier it'll be to find (or curate) the one that works the best. 
I've spent hours picking through Pinterest and study accounts on Instagram reading the best way to do this or this study method that will change your life. I've tried them out, and some work to a degree while others don't help me out at all. I like to piece together all the things that work for me to make the best use of my time and brain power. Here are my best tips to help you find yours

Use a planner

Write it in and actually use it and I promise you your life will change. Even if you have a great memory and never forget an assignment even without writing it down, a planner makes it so there's one less thing to remember and makes room for the important stuff, like those Chemistry reactions or those dates for History. 

Pomodoro Technique 

You might have also heard of this as Tomato Timer, but essentially it breaks down your time into 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break, with a longer break after 4 work sessions. The idea is that during the work session you only focus on that one task until the timer goes off and in turn this makes you more productive. I definitely recommend this for those days that you're feeling really unmotivated but need to get stuff done.

Switch it up

Since each Pomodoro cycle is about 2 hours, I like to find a new spot after every cycle to keep myself from getting tired or bored. Changing where your study can help you feel refreshed and more motivated, or even just get some fresh air walking from your room to the library or coffee shop. 

Start Early

Start studying as early as possible. You will be so much less stressed the days leading up to the test and you'll feel more confident going into to. If it's a paper, you'll be able to spend more time editing and really make sure it's your best work. Plus you'll actually be able to sleep if you're not pulling all nighters trying to cram the two days before. 

Don't Study What You Already Know

This might sound silly or like it should be common knowledge but do not study what you already know and are comfortable with. It will just waste time that you could be spending really nailing down the things you struggle with more. 

Get Ahead

This is more of a tip for the beginning of the semester, but it's also possible to do over breaks. I try to get at least 1 week ahead on all my work during the first weeks of the semester before things start to pile up. This way, when a test comes around you can spend the whole week preparing, rather than trying to quickly do your other assignments and probably get a not so great grade on them.


Whether it's an hour for a Netflix episode or a day to recharge, please make sure that you're taking care of yourself in these stressful weeks leading up to the end of the semester, your body and brain will thank you.

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