Tips on how to study for finals | College & High School

Generally, exam periods are quite draining for some students let alone final year exams. As it stands, final year exams are usually the last straw. In fact, most students choose to call it “the password”. So, either as a nerd or a jolly good fellow, you need tips on how to study for finals.

Practically, the emotional, psychological and academic stress that accompanies final exams is expected. The thought of spending an extra year if you fail to do the right thing is, in fact, the right motivation for some students.

However, just like freshman, sophomore, and junior year exams, all you need for your degree exams are preparation and setting your priority right.

So, I have compiled in this article all you need to excel in your senior year exams. Here, you will see practical study tips to help you excel in your final exams. Also, you will be getting insights on when and how to begin your final year exam preparations.

What are finals in High school?

Basically, finals in high school are your last year as a high school student. Just like any other educational institution, the final exams play a great role in your graduating result.

While some say, high school finals are nothing when compared to college finals, the general truth is that finals usually have a little spice, a little sauce to help you recover from your previous academic years.

On a serious note, Finals are the most pleasant time of your academic stay with all of those books and lecture notes, sleepless nights, and gallons of coffee. Mostly, your final year grades sum up to 50 percent of your total grade in school.

Hence, the final year is all about hard work. You can see hundreds of half-asleep students walking around the campus during this period. In fact, in college final or your senior year is more or less a summary of your academic stay in college so far. Now, let’s see the fuss about final year exams and why it comes with so much headache.

What is final year Examination?

According to Wikipedia, ” A final examination, annual, exam, final interview, or simply final, is a test given to students at the end of a course of study or training. “

So, a final exam is a series of tests written over a slated period of time to generally analyze and grade a student’s understanding of what has been taught over a period of time. Like we said earlier, your final year grades will sum up 50% of your entire grades in college or high school.

So, while your freshman, sophomore, and junior year exams sum up 50 percent, your final year exams is the deal-breaker. Failure to scale through your final exams is an assertion that you are not ready to graduate college. Depending on the level of failure, you will either spend an extra year or grad college with a very low GPA.

None of these is beautiful. Hence, we proffer these study tips to get you the best result and make your final exams easy and memorable.

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Do I need special Preparations for Final Exams?

Well, this is relative to a lot of factors. The truth is no examiner will ask you questions different from what he taught in class. So, depending on your study pattern, you may or may not need special preparations.

In fact, if you have been studying from the beginning of your senior year as an undergraduate, you do not need special preparations. All you need is to basically, read through your study notes and refresh your memories for each subject and topic.

In contrast, if you’re a jolly good fellow as a student, then you need to specially prepare for your final exams if you must come out with flying colors. As a rush-hour student, you might have to adhere to some practical tips to help you write your final exams successfully.

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When should I start studying for my Final Exams?

Generally, there are no strict rules to studying for final exams. Especially as it affects when to start studying, how many hours to study each day and others.

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As they say, different strokes for different people. Whether you choose to start studying at the beginning of your senior year or two weeks to final exams; what is more important is that you prepare to pass.

While the above assertion is practical enough, it is advisable to start studying at the beginning of the class. Remember the adage, “early to bed, early to rise”. So, the earlier you begin your success story, the sweetest or merrier.

In fact, set aside a little time each week to sit down and organize your notes. Find extra time to figure out what’s going well and what’s going badly. Three to four weeks ahead of time is the latest that you want to create a study plan.

In addition, follow the tips to study effectively.

How do I study for finals in a day?

Well, this is scientifically not advisable. However, a number of reasons may cause you to have just a day to prepare for your final exams. So, let’s say you were sick or got so busy with work as a student. Don’t worry, here are practical steps to save time and prepare for your finals in a day.

Majorly, what you will basically do is cram. While this is not academically healthy, if this is the last option for you, let’s get the trophy then.

#1: Make a list of important concepts and ideas

Practically, it’s 24 hours or less, you can’t study everything. So, list out all the important concepts, terms and ideas for the subject and topic. Get a paper and a study pen as your take a stroll through the course outline or syllabus. A sure way to identify important concepts and ideas is to:

  • check if the instructor has explicitly said it will be on the exam.
  • check if it comes up a lot in the textbook and/or lectures.
  • know how fundamental it is to understanding other topics in the course.
  • take note of highlighted, underlined, or bolded in a course syllabus or textbook.

#2: Read the summary segment for each topic.

Specifically, locate summaries of each section at either the beginning or the end of each chapter of your textbook. Read these summaries and study them very well.

You should also check out handouts provided for the class by professors. Most of them provide a summary of important themes. So, focus on anything labeled Introduction, Conclusion, or Summary. These sections will simplify information for you and make it easier to remember.

#3: Pen down Important facts

Scientists posit that information written down is hardly forgotten. So, you learn much better if you write information down. Simply, write down anything important fact you think you will need in the exam hall. It helps you commit to memory.

#4: Create a mental or physical picture

Yes, this is quite essential, because you have less than 24 hours to get into the exam hall. A mental picture, physical art creation that connects or summarizes your coursework will help a whole lot.

So, try using a visual aid, like a chart, graph or mind map, to explicitly identify the connections between the course material. It’ll give you a much better understanding of the concepts as a whole.

#5: Take Practice test

Once, you are confident you have gone through all-important keywords, concepts, and ideas; take the available practice test. Basically, taking a practice test will aid you to know if you’re ready or not.

Although you can not always emulate the high-pressure test-taking environment outside of the classroom, practice exams are great tools for building stamina. Also, they help in testing your knowledge and putting everything you learned together. So, go through your important jottings and try either an online practice test or answer all the questions provided by the author.

How do I study for Final Exams in College?

Well, whether in high school or college, even the final exam in graduate schools is a redefining event in total grad score. Basically, depending on how your finals are weighted, your final exam grade could even mean the difference between an A and a C on your transcript! 

So, final exams aren’t just any tests. They draw upon your knowledge from the entire semester, and you have to take a whole bunch of them at once. Most students agree that finals week can be the most stressful time for a student. My secret guide to excelling in your finals is an effective and efficient study guide.

Below are best tips to study for your final exams in high school, college or grad school;

Step 1: Understand your goal

Research shows one will do better if he sets a goal. For your final exams in high school or college, it is important you set a goal you intend to achieve. Let’s say you have been doing badly in a subject or you need to grow your grade point average.

At this point, you need to identify what you want to achieve. This will help you know the amount of energy and time you need to put in. For instance, you may need to study extremely hard if you have to move from a C to an A in your transcript; than you will if you already have a B.

#2: Make a final game plan

Well, if you confidently know what you seek to achieve, then you need a game plan. Yea, yea, we all know final year is a whole lot of stress, from lecturers trying to cover up course work to students’ having a project to work on.

But, you have a goal, so you need a game plan. Simply create a hack around your daily activities, academics, sports and social function must re-align to accommodate your final year exams goal.

#3: Prioritize the test that matters the most

Now, you have a final game plan, priority must set in to aid you achieve your goals. Okay, so depending on what your goals are, you will need to discover your strength and weaknesses. Especially, if you’re looking at skyrocketing your grade points. Then, you must prioritize subjects and topics you are excellent at.

The plan is to be so efficient in those areas that you can get all the scores allotted to it. So, make a list of the course or subjects you are good with and pay more attention to them when you are creating your study plan.

#4: Understand how you study best

With your priorities set right and a master final game plan, you can proceed to understanding your most productive time.

Do you study best at night, at the early hours of the day, at a solemn or quiet place or with a soul music at the background? This will help you create an efficient and effective study guide.

#5: Create your own study guide

Just like a man who intend to build a sky scrapper will first fortify his foundation, so have you created all the strongholds you need to study.

Now, create a study guide putting into consideration your game plan, priority subjects and when you study best.

Remember, to achieve your goal, you must remain committed and consistent with your study guide. Follow it strictly and make adjustments when necessary.

#6: Start early

In as much as there is no early or late time to start studying, it is advisable to begin once classes commence. Now, its important that your study guide covers a period of at least four months before your final exams begin.

#7. Form a study group

Basically, having a study group is essential for your final exams. Remember, we talked about priorties and no man is truly an island. Come to think of it, if you are good with calculus or math in college or high school. A study group may let you learn from those who also good with other subjects.

So, make a plan with friends to review the class material, compare notes, or work through tricky concepts. You’ll benefit from the good study habits and notes of the other members in your study group.

#8: Create visual aids for each topic

Well, if you are a visual learner, then you may have to create mental mpictures for each topic. Majorly, use this concept for topics or courses that you’re finding difficult remembering.

Yea, pictures can stick to your memeory easily and are easier to recall. So, imagine you are studying about nouns, getting a mental scenario of you taking your beautiful pet to a luxury hotel and buying it a gold chain.

So, you remember yourself in the story and you remember a noun is a name of a person, your pet signifies animals, hotel and city signifies place and the gold chain, thing. Definitely, this making studying fun but, then it aids in recalling while in the examination hall.

#9: Take notes

One study tip you must imbibe is taking notes of important facts. Scientist opines that knowledge written down is knowledge not forgotten. So, take brief, concise and explanatory notes while you study.

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#10: Teach your friends

You know what they say, ” you can not teach what you don’t know”. Yea, teaching others will help you know if you truly understand the topic. So, learning by teaching is a method that really works!

If you work with a study buddy and explain concepts to one another, you’re re-learning the material all over again. It’s a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned and help someone in the meantime!

#11: Attend class review

Basically, many teachers who organize class reviews aside from revising the coursework may pay attention to some topics. So, if your teacher is offering any reviews or study sessions, take advantage of them!

Your teacher, naturally, is going to focus on the material that will be on the final, which will help you focus on the most important things. Plus, you can ask the teacher about anything you’re finding challenging.

#12: Re-visit your notes

As your exam dates get closer, remember to re-visit the important notes you took over the period you adhered to while studying.

#13: Quiz yourself

Students tend to remember the information they’ve been quizzed on better than the information they simply review.

So, if you are staying with your parents or siblings or even your study group peers; get them to ask you questions on things you have studied over time.

#14: Take practice test

Well, you can find some online or try attempting all questions in your course syllable. Take a practice test on each course or subject, and get accustomed to what you may get in the examination hall.

#15: Get enough sleep

One thing you must not do is to sacrifice your sleep no matter the goals you have set in your game plan. While it may be tempting to pull an all-nighter and cram everything in at the last minute, it’s a bad idea.

No, getting enough sleep will just add stress, and you won’t retain the information for very long by studying that way. So, get at least 6-7 hours of sleep daily to rest your brain.

#16: Eat healthy meals

Eat healthily and drink plenty of water to keep your brain firing on all cylinders. So, fruit and nuts are particularly good choices during crunch time. Then, avoid late-night meals.

Tips to study FAQs

How do I study for Cumulative Finals?

To study for cumulative finals, make flashcards, form a study group, re-visit your notes and make do with past questions and answers that are available.

How do I motivate myself to study for finals?

The right motivation for you should be the fear of being a failure. So, to motivate yourself , find the right study space, remove the distractions. Then, create a study plan, set goals for yourselves, and then just start. Start, make mistakes and keep trying till it becomes a habit.

How do I study for Finals?

To study for finals, set your goals, make a final game plan, and create your own study guide. Also, start studying early, take notes, form a study group, and take practice tests. Remember, to eat healthy meals and take enough rest.

How do I make a study guide?

To create a study guide, understand what you intend to achieve, how you learn best, and priorities. Make sure that it accommodates your social, academic, and other daily activities.

Allocate time to each subject. Also, make sure that courses which you find more difficult get more study time. Then, be determined to adhere to it.


What is worth doing, is worth doing well. So, it is important to study very well for your final exams. Well, if you are looking for the right motivation to study, remember that failing your exam may get you to spend an extra year in college or graduate with a low score.

However, this article proffers a guide to studying effectively and efficiently for your final exams. Tips on how to study are deliberately and carefully written to help you achieve your goals as you prepare for your final exams.



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