Hey everyone! It’s nice to have you back! Today I wanted to talk about studying, specifically studying for finals. It’s that last week where teachers are trying to wrap things up, fit in a review, and hand out the second part of the test before the day of the actual final exam. For some, it’s the home stretch while others it’s the time to give up. Me? I believe it’s the home stretch. While it’s definitely not easy or fun to study for finals and spend time reviewing or practicing, it is definitely worth it. I don’t know about you but I think it’s crazy to work hard all semester and give up at the end. Doesn’t that make all the work you did before, pointless? Because your grade drops. You gave up. I would be filled with regret if I did not try my hardest at the end. And that goes for everything in my life. I would be filled with regret if I did not give my best efforts. And the same goes for you guys! I want to help you do your best by giving you a step by step checklist of how to study for finals so you can ace your exams!! Let’s get started…

First of all… WHAT do I study?

Again, I don’t know about you guys, but I used to never know WHAT to study. Like do I just stare at the textbook or watch a video explanation or…? Well, I have finally figured out a good guide on how to know WHAT you need to study. Find the topic you need to study for in the chart below and it will show you what you should take a look make your time spent studying well worth it.

Topic What to Study
Vocab Flashcards, notes, example sentences, quiz yourself or have someone quiz you
Skill-based (like math or chemistry) Example problems, Practice problems online or from textbook
Concept (understanding) Practice identifying, teach/explain it to someone else or yourself or the wall

Okay that’s great and all… but WHEN do I study??

Another great question that I also had! I can look at flashcards or example problems all day but then what? There is no end result! Instead of infinitely doing practice problems or scrolling through Quizlet flashcards, determine whether or not you need to study first. Ask yourself “Can I explain this?”, because if you can explain it then it doesn’t matter what question is asked because you understand the concept. You understand what you need to do or know to answer the test question. If you can answer my question with a yes and can provide an explanation of the topic, then you obviously don’t need to study. However, if you cannot explain it or you are confused, then you will need to study. So now we have determined an end goal that we need to achieve. This is a common problem when people study – they do not have a goal so therefore they are never done. And you won’t have any motivation or confidence in your knowledge if you don’t know what you’re goal of studying is (besides not failing the test). Here, our goal is to be able to explain the topic! At this point, you will then refer to the chart above and use those tools until you understand the topic enough to teach it, to explain it to someone else!

Now, “Can I explain this?” is a general question that can vary for each topic, so take a look at the chart below to find out what question you should be able to answer to know if you should still study.

Topic Question you should answer
Skill-based (like math) Do you know how to use the skills involved? Do you know when to use them?
History-based Can you tell it like a story? Can you make connections? Can you describe the effects or impacts?
Other Can you explain it?

Now, this may seem obvious, but… HOW do I study??

Once you are using the tools to study, it is important to know HOW to use them. For example, re-reading notes or the textbook is great but you need to know that the reason you are reading them is that so you will know what type of questions will be on the test. Again, you have a goal to what you are doing. (And later you can actually say you accomplished a goal today!) When you quiz yourself, make sure you keep repeating the questions until you get them without a problem – or at least to the point where you would get the grade you are wanting on that test! Finally, if you are teaching/explaining it, make sure you can answer questions or explain it without getting confused. If you can do that, then it makes the test way less intense!

Finally, make sure you take breaks during your study time!! I typically recommend 45 minutes of studying with a 15 minute break, 1 hour of studying with a 30 minute break, or 1 hour of studying with a 1 hour break. I talked about this in my last post, about how important it is to take time for yourself and that definitely applies to studying!! During this time make sure you eat a small snack, or drink some water, chat with a friend, watch a YouTube video, go outside, just do SOMETHING to get you out of studying-mode. You deserve it!! It’s also scientifically proven to help your attention and motivation for when you continue to study again. Not only that, but it is so important to your health! Emotionally, physically, and mentally! I’m so glad you took the time today to read my guide on acing your finals and I hope you crush finals this semester because I know you earned it!!

Let me know how you study for finals or how some of my tips worked for you!! Also, make sure you check out my FREE downloadable checklist on how to ace your finals!!!