How to Prepare for Finals

By Shanakay Osbourne

Now that the Spring 2020 semester is wrapping up, it’s almost time for finals! I want to share with you some ways that you can study for your final exams.

Create a Study Plan

Know the Format of the Exam

Your exams could be in any format. The main formats are multiple-choice, essay-based, short answer, matching, true/false, or oral exams. You can normally find out the format of your exam by reading your class syllabus. If a format description isn’t there, you can reach out to your professor.

You will also want to know if your exam is either cumulative or comprehensive

Cumulative exams are exams that will test your knowledge from materials learned since the beginning of the semester in your class. These exams will be over information from the entire course.

Comprehensive exams are not necessarily linked to a specific course, but based on general information. These exams are normally used in Masters and Doctoral programs. Preliminary, general, or major field exams can test your knowledge on research or general knowledge in your field. In other words, cumulative exams are focused on one particular course, while comprehensive exams are focused on your overall field of study.

Will your exam be timed or can you complete it on your own time with a designated deadline?

Know how long you will have to complete your exams so that you do not run out of time. Timed tests can be hectic because you don’t want to spend too much time on one question. You want to make sure that you can answer all of the questions to get the best grade possible.

If your exam is not timed, then make sure you turn your exam in by the required deadline.

Eat a Proper Meal

Make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast on the day of your exam. What you eat has an impact on your focus and energy level. Try to avoid eating sugary foods because it causes you to feel drained after a sugar rush.

Choose a Location

If you are not required to be at a specific location during your exam, choose somewhere you won’t be distracted. If you are at home, avoid being around the television or your pets. Choose somewhere that is quiet, comfortable, and where you can focus.

If there are other people around you, like your family, be sure to tell them that you will be taking an exam so that they can respectfully give you your space.

Have Necessary Resources

Please be aware of what you can and cannot use on your exams. Some classes will allow you to use tools such as calculators, notes, or related course materials. Other classes do not permit notes. Check your syllabus or ask your professor to be clear on what you can use on your exam.