10 Tips for Acing Exams & Enjoying Winter Break

We’re in the last-minute rush of final exams, and winter break is right around the corner.

At Signet, we want to help students achieve their full academic potential—and build lives that are meaningful, purposeful, and fun!

We’ve got 5 tips to help students study for their finals and 5 tips to help them get the most out of winter break.

5 Tips to Help Students Study for Finals

1. Gather all study materials into one place. We call this document a “mega study guide,” and it should contain everything your student needs from assignments, notes, textbooks, etc. Even the act of putting this material together can help your student better comprehend and retain concepts and information!

2. Create clear, specific tasks for studying. Your student can create mini-milestones in their studying to keep their momentum going. Have them break out “study for exam” into smaller goals, such as reviewing individual concepts, running through practice problems, checking their work, etc.

3. Schedule dedicated study time. If your student doesn’t block off space in the calendar for studying, they’ll never find the time to get to it. Help your student make sure that the time they allot for studying aligns with the amount of work they plan to accomplish during that session.

4. Take breaks. Study sessions should follow best practices for taking breaks, usually one every 30-60 minutes. Signet recommends a cap of about 6 hours on studying in any one day. Beyond that, concept retention starts to drop off and your student will get diminishing returns on their efforts.

5. Minimize distractions. If your student is in a last-minute studying crunch, they need to maximize every moment they’ve got. Smartphones, social media, and even a noisy study environment can all decrease a student’s productivity and divide their focus. Help them create a study space that will allow them to work as efficiently as possible.

5 Tips to Help Students Get the Most Out of Winter Break

1. Look back and reflect. After exams are complete, your student should look back at their preparation process as well as their progress over the entire semester. This Semester Reflection is a great tool for doing exactly that.

2. Identify what needs to be done over winter break (if anything). If your student has tasks that need to be completed during the break, they can make a list and schedule time for those tasks now. That way they’re not an unexpected stressor the night before they return to school.

3. Create a plan for returning to school. As part of the Semester Reflection, your student may have identified concepts they need to reinforce, questions they need to ask, or activities they want to engage in after winter break. By capturing those ideas now, students will be able to rest during the holidays, knowing they’ve got a clear plan for the coming months.

4. Close the book on fall semester. Help your student put away their textbooks and pack up their study space to officially mark the end of the semester. Yes, they’ll need the space again in a few weeks, but formalizing the end of the semester will help them transition into holiday mode more easily.

5. Make the season special. Enroll your student in planning fun family activities that help the holidays feel different than every other day (especially if you’re spending almost all of those days at home). Keep old traditions or establish new ones. Everyone will benefit from consciously moving into a spirit of celebration!

Picture of Sheila A.

Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

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