Do you want to get an A on your next Final Exam?
Who doesn't want to learn the secret to getting an A on a Final? The Secret is that you need to learn how to study for finals.
Crunch time, as high school and college students like to call it, is the last 2 or so weeks before finals or really any test. This is when students finally realize that they had better get in gear and be prepared to sit down and crank out some serous studying. Some work needs to be done, but luckily there are some secret tips that can help student study more efficiently. So what are the secrets and how do you study for finals?
Secret #1 Study
While this may not seem like a secret and a no brainer to just about anyone who reads this article, there are people who do not study for their finals. They somehow expect to do miraculously well on something that they are completely unprepared for. Granted, there are some prodigies out there in the world who can ace finals without studying for them, but those students are far and few between. Seriously, STUDY!! Everyone has their own study habits, so use whatever works. Hard work is rewarded in the end.
Secret #2 Do Not Procrastinate
Start studying early and often. Ideally, students should be studying the entire semester for traditional and online schools and actively learning the material, but that just does not happen. If you are one of these students, you need at least 2 weeks to cram everything into your brain for the big day. For everyone else, study a little bit every day until the material is mastered. Finals only cover so much. The more time that you spend studying, the higher grade you will get. This is a simple concept, but I run into soooooo many people who think that studying is a waste of time. Logically, the more time you have to study, the more studying you will do, which will lead you to a higher grade.
Secret #3 Don't kill yourself
Although it is important to study, that should not be all that you do during the day. Take some time out to exercise for an hour or go out to lunch/dinner. You will learn more efficiently with breaks in between your studying and your brain will certainly feel better. However, I advise that you avoid Facebook, during your free time. We all know that a few minutes on Facebook can soon turn into an hour. You would be best to avoid Facebook altogether until you are completely done studying for the day. Make sure to take breaks, just not for Facebook.
Secret #4 Eat
Well this might seem simplistic as well, but you need to eat in order to study well. If you are on a diet, forget it for finals week, and eat whatever makes you comfortable and relaxed. It is never a good idea to eat an entire carton of ice cream, but you get the idea. Do not worry about your diet when your grades are on the line. There is the entire rest of the year to diet and make up for you relapse. Most importantly, eat a good breakfast/lunch right before taking the test. Your brain functions better when there is food in your stomach.
Secret #5 Do not Re-read the text book
This is the worst thing that you could do right before a test. It is a complete waste of time. You will (A) fill your brain with a ton of new information right before the test and (B) not retain any of that information. It also takes a lot of time to re-read the book, so just don't do it. So what to do then? -Read the chapter summaries if available, definitely re-read notes, and take a glance at any charts, pictures, or maps that might be in your textbook. This will take about 1/4 of the time that it takes to reread the textbook and it will be more effective. I even recommend buying a review test prep book. For high school classes, there are AP review books and SAT II books that are very useful. Read these if you want, just do not re-read the textbook.
Secret #6 Do not study for a test right before taking it (optional)
This tip is more a matter of personal preference, but I think that studying right before a final is counter-productive. I find that I preform better on finals when I DO NOT study extensively the night before or right before in the morning. I try to finish my studying a few hours before I go to sleep, so that I can clear my mind, relax, and get a good night's sleep (free of numbers, calculations, facts, maps, etc...). I also get stressed out if I study the morning of a final, because I feel like I do not know the material well enough. There is no worse feeling than walking into a final and believing that you do not know the material. Feel confident in your knowledge of the subject and then dedicate some time to rest and relax.
Secret #7 Sleep
We all perform well when properly rested. Unfortunately, high school students, especially AP students are in a constant cycle of sleep deprivation. Despite this, it is important to get a good night's sleep before taking finals. It has been scientifically proven that humans are more productive after a good rest. Make time to sleep; you will test better if you sacrifice some of your studying for sleep. Do not underestimate the power of rest.
There will always be tests that you need to ace to succeed, it is just a fact of life. Learn these secrets well and you will find finals a bit easier. Good Luck in the future!