The stress of mid-December finals combined with the potential disappointment of scoring lower than they hoped leaves many students feeling dejected as they enter the new year.
But that’s no reason to give up hope! There’s plenty of time for students to turn things around and achieve a better outcome from the spring finals coming up in just a few months.
What Makes Final Exams so Challenging?
First, students should take a step back and acknowledge that final exams are indeed exceptionally difficult. Not only do exams represent an accumulation of an entire semester’s worth of content, but they also tend to seem so far away that many students put off studying until it’s too late.
When students don’t plan for final exams, they end up cramming in the last few days before the test or—worse—pulling an all-nighter. This approach is highly stressful and doesn’t yield the results most students hope to achieve.
Thankfully, there’s a better way.
Signet’s Method of Studying for Final Exams
In Signet’s years of experience providing subject tutoring, test prep tutoring, and academic coaching services, we’ve solidified a proven method for studying that students can apply when preparing for final exams.
Signet’s approach—which requires consistent effort over time—may seem intimidating at first glance, but come time for final exams, students are always glad they put in the work. Check out our Guide to Successful Studying for a comprehensive summary, or read the abridged plan here:
Tip #1: Study throughout the semester
We advise students to review the concepts they’re learning on a weekly basis to ensure they have a firm grasp of the material and aren’t stuck relearning key concepts at the end of the semester.
Tip #2: Realize studying is an effective and repeatable process
Exhibiting behaviors regularly over a period of time helps form habits that can make the task at hand feel more doable. Students should start by recognizing that studying is an actual process and develop a study method that they can apply to any subject. As they repeat that process, it will become habitual.
Tip #3: Create a study plan as soon as an exam is assigned
Procrastination doesn’t stand a chance against a proactive study plan. Developing a study plan for final exams at the beginning of the semester gives students the maximum time to prepare for the test and use their time wisely.
Tip #4: Build a mega study guide
Having just one packet of material to work with per class helps students benchmark their progress and avoid distractions—which brings us to the concept of a mega study guide. Students should identify specific concepts and material they need to learn and compile everything into one centralized resource.
Tip #5: Break learning down into discrete tasks and schedule them
Progress occurs one step at a time, and dividing a study plan into smaller, actionable steps can help ensure that each step is completed. We advise students to literally schedule the tasks into their calendars to keep themselves accountable.
Tip #6: Allocate specific time to study for the exam
Whether students study daily, a few days a week, on the weekends, or in another regular format, scheduling short, regular bursts of 1-2 hours is the way to go.
Tip #7: Stick to the plan
This step seems pretty self-explanatory—and it is!—but executing it is harder than many students realize. We advise students to create checklists or enlist an accountability partner to help them follow through with their plan.
Tip #8: After the exam, reflect
We’ve already established that studying is a repeatable process, so it follows that each new cycle of it should be more refined than the last. Once students have completed an exam, they should reflect on the experience and identify areas of improvement for next time.
Considering most students finished taking their mid-December finals just recently, they can get started on this last step right away and then plan to implement the approach in its entirety when the next semester begins.
If your student could use extra support studying for finals, Signet is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our academic coaching and tutoring services!