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Chandler Lasch | Col­legian

Hillsdale is hard. Not properly preparing for finals makes it harder. However, while strength rejoices in the chal­lenge, it also knows when to find help.

As finals loom over the end of the semester as a sort of trial before Christmas break, here are a few tips to help you succeed.

Start as early as you can

Hell week may make you think you will never have a life again, but the sooner you can start to study for finals, the easier your finals week will be. This espe­cially applies to lan­guage classes and lit­er­ature classes where there isn’t time to absorb all the infor­mation. Vocab­ulary takes time to learn, so putting it off until right before finals can hurt your grade. Great lit­er­ature takes some time to read and absorb, so stay on top of your Her­itage reader or Great Books assign­ments.

Take the study guide seriously

If you have a study guide, you can be assured that your pro­fessor put time and thought into making it. The study guide is designed to help direct your attention to what the pro­fessor thought was most important. Taking the time to make sure you under­stand all the material listed can help prevent test time sur­prises.

Look at midterm exams

Any pre­vious exams that you have taken show what your pro­fessors pre­vi­ously thought was important. Review old tests to have an idea of what may return on the final. Your pro­fessors will likely want to emphasize the material again at the end of the semester. In fact, some pro­fessors even repeat ques­tions from their midterms on their finals.

Review your notes for the whole semester

This may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but reviewing the semester’s notes helps to refresh the material in your mind. This can help you to remember infor­mation that the pro­fessor may have left off of pre­vious exams. A quick way to review notes is to talk through them out loud and explain them. If you can strengthen the neural con­nec­tions to the material in your mind, you’ll have an easier time recalling the material during the test.

Adjust your schedule if necessary

If you have several finals on one day, see if a pro­fessor will let you take a final with another section or in his office. Your pro­fessors want you to succeed, so if you have mul­tiple finals on one day, a pro­fessor may be nice enough to let you take it on another day. This can help spread out your study schedule so you aren’t too busy on one day.

Make lists

When studying, take the time to list out what you actually need to know so you aren’t over­whelmed. Whenever you elim­inate ambi­guity, you free up your mind to focus on details. Rather than aim­lessly working through the material you think might be on the test, take 30 minutes or so to create a study path for a final. You can always change it if you need to, but having a path lets you work inten­tionally.

Chunk information

If you have fifteen minutes, you probably have time to work on a small chunk of infor­mation. Even if it’s just reviewing a his­torical figure or working on vocab­ulary, using your downtime to tackle a small amount of infor­mation will help you to use your time to study effi­ciently.

Find social balance.

While studying for finals, it’s important for your well­being to talk with your friends, but try not to avoid studying. If you take the time to study and learn the material, finals can be an enjoyable time.

Hope­fully, these tips help you to have a less stressful, more suc­cessful finals week. Aca­demic success requires per­se­verance and strategy and these tips should help you on your way.