Studying 101: 5 Ways To Prep For Finals

Finals week is without-a-doubt my least favorite time of the quarter. During finals week, my every day seems to appear as follows: study, coffee, study, study, study, coffee, sleep, study, study, coffee, sleep.

Sound familiar?

Welcome to college. But don’t let that get you down. The following are some different ways to help you study and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes using different study methods is just what you need to ace that next Spanish final you have.

  • Make flashcards

One of the easiest ways to study is to make flashcards. Have an endless amount of vocabulary words to study and don’t know where to begin? Make notecards! The great thing about them is they’re great to take on-the-go. Is the line for Starbucks so incredibly long? Take out your flashcards while you wait and study away! If you didn’t read my post on two websites that will make studying even easier, go check it out! StudyBlue and Quizlet will help you review the material you need to know.


  • Start studying early

Every quarter I make it my goal to review the material I just learned in class so when the time comes for a test, I won’t feel so behind. The first few weeks I’m reviewing like crazy, sometimes chapters and chapters ahead of schedule. But somewhere in the middle of the quarter, my dedication dies down and procrastination kicks in. Don’t let this happen to you! Once you go through the first section of a textbook in class, go over it once you get home. This will help you retain the information even more.

Keep chugging along and study, study, study! The earlier the better. It’ll help you remember the material better when the time comes for the exam.

  • Review your notes — or write them again

Depending on the class, I either write out or type my class notes. Whichever I plan to do, when it comes time for the test I often do the opposite. For example, if I wrote out my notes in class, I’ll type them a week or two before the final and vice versa if I started out typing them. This helps the information stick better. The repetition definitely helps me remember the information I need to know. Highlighting key terms also helps, whether you prefer handwritten or typed notes. Use different colored highlighters to differentiate topics. Highlighting will help you recognize the most important parts of your notes that you’ll want to study over and over again in preparation for that long, multiple-choice exam.


  • Study groups

While I like studying on my own because it makes me feel more productive, I have to admit that study groups can definitely help. Last quarter I had a teacher give us 15 or so questions to review a week or so before an exam. Three of those questions would appear on the test in short-answer format. My friend and I decided to review for the test together and we went through the study questions. Sometimes I had missed something my professor said that my friend happened to write down and vice versa.

Studying in a group can also be beneficial in that our classmates will often explain material differently, in a way that will help us understand the concept better.

Whether you like studying alone or not, studying in a group can be a great idea.

  • Ask your professor if you have any questions

Lastly, if there are any questions you might have, contact your professor by going to his office hours, asking after class or by email (whichever method he or she prefers). They’re the ultimate source for explaining something you might not have understood when he or she was explaining it in class.

Whatever method you choose, happy studying!

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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