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College Personal Growth

How To – Prepare for College Final Exams

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Fall semester finals are the worst timed finals ever.

For real though. You’ve stuffed your beautiful faces with a ton of amazing Thanksgiving meals, got to spend well-deserved time with family and friends, and sampled a small taste of the break that you’ve been longing for since the semester started…but now finals are approaching and you’re searching for final exam tips to help you survive.

Believe me, I’ve been there. It’s almost impossible to go from those several days of relaxation to cramming everything you’ve learned from August into your brain for exams.

But ya gotta do it. And you can do it! By following my final exam tips, you’ll be able to survive your final exam hell week, and enjoy the holiday break that’s soon to come!

How to Prepare for College Final Exams - College Tips & Tricks

Final Exam Tips:

Find and write down your exam times/locations

I’ve heard way too many horror stories of people missing their final exams because they went to the wrong place at the wrong time. This is such a preventable occurrence and knowing where you’re going and when will save you a ton of stress and anxiety in the long run.

Look on your university website, email your professor/TA, or check out the syllabus (it’ll sometimes update with that info) for the location and time of your tests. If you want to really make sure you won’t miss it, ask a friend in your class.

Also, determine what you may or may not need to bring to your test. For math exams, you’ll often need a calculator, ruler etc. Be diligent!

Verify your current grades

Next on my list of final exam tips is to check out your grades. Why? If you already have great grades or have determined you need to take the class again (which isn’t the end of the world, it happens to almost everyone!!!) you don’t want to “waste time” studying for an exam where the outcome won’t affect your classroom status/GPA.

Determine how much of your grade percentage is dependent on the outcome of your final. Usually, this info is listed on the syllabus.

#BOSSBABETIPS – Check the syllabus before asking your professor any questions—they almost always get mad when you ask a question that can be answered by the syllabus.

Final Exam Tips

You can usually plug and play random grades to see how it’ll affect your final score – “If I get a 0 on my final I can still get a C+ in the class!”

Determining what grade you need can sometimes ease your stress, or help you prioritize which exams you should study for the most/least.

Work that Pomodoro Technique

This technique is known to be one of the most effective ways to increase productivity and better your time management.

It works by setting a timer for 25 minutes. Through that time, avoid all distractions if possible (don’t you dare go on your phone or explore Pinterest!). When the timer goes off after 25 minutes of productivity, you have a 5-minute break period. Chat with friends, grab a little healthy snack, or check out any twitter updates. These 5 minutes are all for YOU!

When those 5 minutes are up, it’s time to get back to work. Repeat this process 4 more times (2 hours), and allow yourself a longer break of a half hour. Then repeat!

It’s one of the most successful study techniques around. The hardest part is eliminating the distractions.

Final Exam Tips - The Pomodoro Technique

Chat with classmates

Another one of my favorite final exam tips is to talk to your peers! If you’re totally antisocial in class, it’s time to get chatty. Talking with people in your class or major is an awesome way to see how other people are studying and what particular subjects/chapters are their main focus.

Sometimes, you’ll find that whoever you’re talking with will know more about the exam style from other people. Word travels fast in the collegiate gossip train, so you may find out some juicy details about the exam layout, and more.

For example, A few years back I had an exam but was totally lost on how to study for it. As it turns outs, the finals given in previous years had nearly identical questions (copy & paste) from regular semester exams. So rather than going through all the notes and material, I just looked over my past exams.

It pays to be a social butterfly.

Join A Study Group

A study group is awesome if you are confused about any material you’ve learned through the semester. It’s super helpful to have a group of people with different learning styles and perspectives that can help clarify a topic you’ve got questions about. Often, you’ll find that someone your age will have a better way to explain something to you versus a professor.

Review sessions may also be held (usually by a TA) prior to the exam. Sometimes they are useless (especially if everyone shows up without questions), but they can also be crazy helpful. Regardless, you can use it as some extra time to study! If you’re super lucky, you might be told some extra hints about the final, or receive some extra credit for showing up to the review.

*You May Also Like:  My midterm survival guide.*

Take care of your body.

Finals are usually the time where the idea of taking care of your body goes to hell. And It’s so easy to let that happen. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

We’ve all been there. I swear to you guys that taking care of your body is one of the best ways to crush your final exams.

Eat well.

While takeout is super quick and easy, opt for a healthier option if you can. If you don’t have time to cook, meal prep before your most hectic week. Have everything you need in a to-go container, ready to grab and go for your convenience. Check out PopSugar for 21 easy meal prep ideas.


Exercise makes your happy (yay science!) and also relieves stress. Take a power yoga class to get a moving, or a restorative yoga class to help quiet your mind.

If you seriously don’t have time to get out, there are plenty of Youtube videos to help lead you through an effective (and quick!) at home workout. Just grab your yoga mat and get to it! If possible, try and get out of the apartment/dorm/library if you can. A change of scenery can never hurt.

Plan out your schedule!

Probably one of the most important final exam tips I have is to plan out your schedule. Plan to start studying at least several days (a week if you can) ahead of the exam. Don’t just plan out your study schedule—plan it all!

Before your hell week begins, Schedule time to prep your meals, workout, meditate and whatever else you need.  By allotting time for extracurricular activities, you can be sure you get enough self TLC to survive your final exams.

and GUESS WHAT! I created an hourly printable worksheet to help you plan out your studies. Woohoo! You can access the PDF here! 🙂


Good luck on your finals and keep going! You got this, friends!

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