How I Studied for Finals and Passed with Flying Colors

Finals can be stressful and overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you plan and score big on your next midterm or final.

Finals can be stressful and overwhelming. I remember one semester when my courses seemed to be more difficult than they had been in the past. I struggled because we covered a lot of content in a short amount of time, and the terminology was new for me. I was anxious about taking my final exams, and I had to come up with a plan if I wanted to be successful.

I knew that most of my finals consisted of three main sections: defining key terms, multiple choice questions and short essays. That structure helped me organize a simple study plan.

Follow these steps to pass your midterms and finals, like I did, with flying colors!

Step 1. Review the learning objectives of the course

Understanding the key learning outcomes and course objectives prove you have mastered the course. Review them and make sure you are capable of applying them in real-life situations.

Step 2. Review terminology

Many questions on the exam will be related to terminology, so plan accordingly. Review and study the definitions for all key terms from the chapters in your textbook. Make flashcards and review them often. The more terms you know, the better chance you have at acing your exam.

Step 3. Review past assignments and apply your instructor’s feedback

Instructors like to include questions from homework assignments and past exams on the final. So, take a good look at your completed course assignments and read your professor’s feedback. Review questions that you missed, and make sure that you know the right answers in case they reappear on the final.

Step 4. Read your notes and highlights

You should always review your notes before an exam, and the final is no exception. If you take good notes, you’ll have a condensed recap of the key terms and concepts that are covered in each chapter of your textbook. Your notes might also contain tips, formulas and concepts that are not in the textbook, but were covered by your instructor during class. Those are fair game for the exam, too, so make sure you know them.

Step 5. Reread chapters

Consider rereading sections and chapters that you did not understand the first time. You can review your notes first, and then go to the textbook to fill in any gaps in your understanding. Many textbooks also have summaries and quizzes at the end of each chapter. Use those to gauge your understanding of the material and pinpoint the topics you might need to revisit.

Step 6. Study flashcards on Quizlet

Flashcards are a great tool for memorizing key terms and concepts. Create your own using notecards, or create a virtual set on Quizlet. Take your flashcards with you wherever you go and study during your downtime.

These tried-and-true tips will help you sail through your finals, no matter what you’re studying. Try them yourself and share with us how it went at @HerzingUniv on Twitter!