Prescription for Success: Final Exam Prep
April 18, 2017
As the semester starts to wind down, most college students are looking forward to the joys of summer break, but not before putting in some serious crunch time in preparation for their final exams.
We’re here to reassure you that—with the proper planning—studying for multiple tests administered in a single week is a manageable goal. Final exams are simply meant to show your professors how far you’ve progressed and how much you’ve learned over the course of the semester. If you can review that key material strategically and plan ahead, you’ll be well on your way to ending the semester on a high note.
Mark final exam dates in your calendar
It’s common to take finals on consecutive days and sometimes even on the same day. because of this, it is imperative to make a study plan before finals week starts. Keeping track of which final exams are happening when will enable you to see exactly how you need to allocate your time in order to cover all of the material.
By making a schedule, not only are you giving yourself enough time to cover all the material, you are also alleviating stress by spreading your study schedule out rather than trying to learn a semester’s worth of material the night before the big test.
Organize a study group
When it comes to studying, everyone has their own techniques. While it might be best to study the majority of the material alone, it is never a bad idea to study with friends occasionally. Consider reviewing material on your own during the initial stages of studying, figure out what you know really well and what you need to spend a little more time on, then meet with classmates closer to test day for a group study session.
It is beneficial to study with other people because you can discuss topics that are not your strong suit while teaching others the concepts that you know really well. Sometimes your peers can explain a topic in an easier to understand fashion than what you might read in a textbook. As an added benefit, studying with friends allows you to socialize while also preparing to ace your exam.
Realize it is OK to relax
While it is essential to study for final exams, you don’t have to spend every moment of your waking life with your nose in a textbook. The purpose of planning ahead and making an effort to study with friends is to prepare yourself in a manner that will turn those pressures into successes.
While making study guides and reviewing flashcards, remember that you’re allowed to relax for a while. Try to block out breaks between long blocks of studying and set goals. For example, if you study all of Chapter 4, reward yourself with an episode of your favorite show once you’re finished. You don’t always need to reach your goals right away—as long as you compensate later. It won’t always be realistic to study uninterrupted for long periods of time, especially when you are still managing other obligations, such as a job, classes, or club membership.
Above all, it is important to accept that life happens. As long as you make realistic goals and make an effort to study the material, there can be wiggle room in your study schedule. It is only meant to be a guide, not something written in stone.
Final exams don’t have to be stressful. By planning ahead and knowing what is expected of you, you can get through finals week and head into the summer confident, anxiety-free, and carrying a strong GPA.
Once you’ve aced your final exams, start mapping your path to a career in medicine with our free medical school admission guide.