When to Begin Studying for Final Exams?

After Thanksgiving break, final exams feel so near. For many students, especially freshmen taking their first round of final exams, it is hard to determine when to begin studying.

The first thing to consider is how much studying you will actually have. Unlike high school, not every college course has a final exam. Many classes have other types of finals, such as papers, projects, or presentations. That being said, you may only have one or two actual, in-class examinations. If you have quite a few exams, you will want to begin studying as early as possible. If you only have one or two, you may have more flexibility on your study timeline.

The second thing to consider is when the final examinations fall during finals week. If you begin to prepare too far in advance, you run the risk of forgetting the material by the time the exam rolls around. If you study too late, you will be cramming, and science tells us that cramming does not work.

Last but not least, it is important to consider your own study habits, and what makes you a successful test taker. The first round of final examinations for any student is really about learning how you study best and using those strengths to succeed. Personally, I learn best when I use flashcards and write out definitions by hand. Rather than memorization, I focus on comprehension. It all comes down to what tools you can use to get the best grade possible.


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