It’s that time of the year to start preparing for final exams! After a great response from my last post on reducing exam anxiety, I’m writing this post about all the things you can do to get prepared for your final exams.
Since there’s usually a large part of your mark riding on the final exam for a subject, you want to be as prepared as possible. Give yourself time to study, put yourself in a good environment and make sure you take care of yourself during this stressful period. The frantic need to study can be overwhelming in the lead up to exams and can lead us to overlook simple things such as the time of an exam.
Making sure you have everything you need before the exam period starts will let you focus on productive study and keep you motivated to perform your best.
Write down the details
It’s easy to overlook simple details when you’re studying for exam. Start your preparations early by checking your exam timetable. Write down the details of your exams and place it somewhere easy to see like on a pinboard or on the wall.
Details to check and write down might include:
- The time and date of the exam
- The location and seat number
- Rules on what you can/can’t bring into the exam
- Locations of rooms to check your bags/phone if you can’t bring them into the exam
Since every institution has different rules, you want to make sure that you know exactly what do to. Once you have all your details written down correctly (emphasis on correctly, make sure everything you write down has the right dates and times), there is no need to worry about being blindsided on the exam day by anything that you didn’t know.
Clear away the clutter
Does anyone else procrastinate studying by cleaning? I know it’s not just me! I often fall into the trap of thinking “I don’t have a clean study space and therefore I can’t study”. But instead of cleaning my desk (like a productive person), I clean other rooms in my house. I don’t know why we do this. If I just cleaned my desk, then I could sit down and study. For this reason I try to keep my desk clean and tidy throughout the semester.
To prepare for final exams, aim to clear away any clutter on your desk and get it ready for some productive study. Anything you don’t need on your desk (like decorative ornaments), clear it away. I always feel ready to sit down and study when I have a clear desk because I can spread out all my books and notes and look at everything. There’s no need to put books on top of each other, or stack notes and be constantly lifting or moving papers to look for information underneath.
Also check you have enough pens, pencils, highlighters, rulers, paper, notebooks and any other stationery that you need for studying. Put them in a pencil case and keep them on the desk (or at least nearby like in a desk draw). It’s very easy to start searching for a pen you don’t have and instead finding something that proves more distracting. A clean, practical desk with everything you need provides no distractions and gives you a clear mind to focus on studying.
Create a study plan
Creating a study plan is a great way to make sure that you cover all necessary topics for a subject, and offers a guideline to drive studying. Writing down all your topics, checking that you are confident in them, and giving yourself a space to write down questions as you move through your study plan is a sure-fire way to go into the exam feeling confident.
You can check out my handy guide to writing a study plan and grab your free printable study planner to help you write a study plan that will make preparing for finals a breeze.
Organise group study
Telling yourself that you are going to study isn’t necessarily going to make you study. Sometimes we can feel lazy, something unexpected can come up, or we just lose motivation. A great way to motivate yourself to get study done during the exam period is to organise study sessions with classmates and friends. Going somewhere like the library (and bonus points if you can book a study room) gets you out of your dorm or house into a new environment with less distractions. Everyone in the group is going there with the intention of studying, and this encourages everyone to work hard. I mean, you don’t want to be the one person that isn’t working in a room full of people, right?
Make a self-care plan
I’ve saved the most important for last. If you are going to pay attention to only one of the tips for preparing for final exams in this post, let it be this one. The exam period is a stressful time, and this stress can be damaging to your health and your grades.
Create a self-care plan to make sure that you are taking care of yourself during this time. This could be anything from making sure you take some time out each day to unwind and destress, going to bed early every night, eating healthy or giving yourself proper breaks. Schedule some self-care time into your schedule and stick to it. During my final exams, I always studied during the day, then I used the nights to relax and go to bed early, ensuring I woke up refreshed and ready to study again the next day.
If you think that you are becoming overwhelmed by the work, go for a walk or grab a coffee with a friend. Even small breaks can give your mind a break from the stress. Remember, your health is important so take care of yourself.
And that’s it! Following these tips will help you prepare for your final exams. If you have a different way to prepare, let me know in the comments below!
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