5 Easy Ways To Get Ready For The Finals Now | Student Affairs Division

As the semester ends, it’s a great time to start preparing for the finals. Getting into your study routine now will help you avoid stuffing everything the night before exams. Here are five ways to help you plan, prepare for, and succeed in your finals.

1. Plan your study routine and get organized

As you study, try different methods to find out what works for you. Here are some things to consider when establishing a routine and getting organized:

  • Prepare your materials. Make sure you use more than just your notes. Review your manual, handouts, practice materials, and information shared through Canvas.
  • Find your place of study. It’s important to have places where you can study and stay focused. Use the Study Spaces filter on the CU Boulder Campus Map to find quiet places on campus. If you are studying off campus, make sure your space is organized and free from distractions so you can focus.
  • Organize your notes. Instead of just reading your notes, try turning your lecture notes into an outline, graph, or diagram. Not only does this help you get organized, it also helps you clarify what you know and what you may need to review.

2. Seek help

One of the best ways to make sure you pass your exams is to use the resources and support available to you. The more help you seek, the easier it will be to understand and apply the material you are learning.

  • Attend office hours. This can give you the opportunity to ask clarifying questions and review the material with your teacher for the exam. Find out how to make the most of the faculty’s office hours.
  • Participate or create study groups. Be sure to participate in study groups when you have the opportunity. If you can, have some of your classmates join you for a study session.
  • Be your own tutor. One way to tell if you really know the content you are learning is to see how well you can explain it to other people. Try to explain the material to your friends, classmates or family members. If they get it, you have it.

3. Maximize your time

When it comes to studying, being strategic about how you spend your time can make all the difference. Here are some ways to maximize the time you have.

  • Make a daily schedule for Finals week. Include things like the days and times of your exams, meal times, study sessions, and time for breaks.
  • Plan your study sessions. Rather than “studying 8 am to 5 pm,” plan what you will study during each hour of your study sessions on your schedule. Here is a sample schedule to give you some ideas.
    • 8h00 Breakfast
    • 8:30 am-10am Chemistry study session (5 minute break included)
    • 10 am-10.30am Take a walk to recharge your batteries
    • 10:30 am to noon Final story
    • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Breakfast
    • 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Start the essay in French (5 minute break included)
    • 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Take a nap or watch a TV episode of your choice
    • 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Self-quiz on today’s topics (5 minute break included)
    • 5:00 p.m. Having dinner
  • Divide your study material into topics from difficult to easy. Are there any subjects in which you are really good? Do you struggle with others? Identify them and plan how much time you need to devote to each. If math is your strong suit, hold a shorter study session to make sure you’re good to go. If the physics class is a bit difficult, allow a longer study period for this class.

4. Try different study strategies

Get the most out of the way you study with these approaches to help you pass your exams.

  • Code your notes by color. It might sound silly, but the power of a red pen and highlighter can go a long way. Review your notes and highlight any important themes or topics that your teacher expressed as important. Use different colored pens for definitions, vocabulary, and other important topics.
  • Try flashcards for memorization. This can be especially useful if you are taking a language course or need to memorize dates. Write down the keywords, themes, and topic definitions you need to remember. For vocabulary, write the word on one side of the flashcard and its definition / translation on the other and the same for dates. Once you have a bunch of cards, practice, practice, practice. You can ask your family or roommates to question you or even take them with you as you take a walk.
  • Make your own study guide. If you had a piece of paper to bring to your exam for help, what would it be on it? Focus on creating a guide with main themes, vocabulary, and other relevant information. Having a short, descriptive study guide gives you the chance to easily test yourself throughout the day.

5. Avoid cutting round corners

Even if this is the critical moment, avoid cutting corners with your work. Not citing a source correctly or asking a friend to help you with your work might seem trivial at the moment, but these actions and any form of academic dishonesty violate the Honor Code and can have consequences.

Academic dishonesty is any act in which a student obtains or attempts to obtain an unfair academic advantage over other students. Plagiarism and cheating are examples of this. All CU Boulder students are subject to the Honor Code for Academic Matters and students who violate the code may be subject to disciplinary action.

Learn more about how to avoid major Honor Code violations.

Remember to prioritize what’s important, brace yourself and take one exam at a time. Take a deep breath and finish strong!


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