Exam Time – 3 Keys to Success When Studying for Finals

Exam Time – 3 Keys to Success When Studying for Finals

It’s exam time again, and every year at this time, students often ask me how they can best prepare for their exams. Of course, the best preparation techniques will vary from student to student, but here are 3 quick tips that can help you prepare for your finals:

1) Focus on What Will Be Tested

Most teachers provide review packages for their students, which can be helpful in terms of providing students with a variety of practice questions, but it’s important to understand which chapters and what kinds of questions will make up the majority of the exam. Some teachers will write exams with each chapter carrying equal weight, but that is not always the case. Some teachers might feel that a particular unit is more important, and will ask more questions about that unit. With this in mind, a student should spend more of their studying time on that unit and those types of questions. Make sure you know what the breakdown of your final is so that you know where to spend your time. 

2) Start With the Toughest Units

Many students have a tendency to want to review their courses in the same order that they learned them, and this strategy makes sense if a student is equally comfortable with all of the units of a course, but this is rarely the case. Students should take this opportunity to focus on the parts of the course that they found the most challenging regardless of order, reviewing those units and question types that they found the hardest first. That way, they can fill in any gaps from during the year before the exam.

3) Focus on Solving “Mathy” Questions

Most final exams will have a certain number of theory and vocabulary questions that students will be asked to answer. With this in mind, it is important for students to take time to review these elements of the course, but it is key for students to spend the majority of their time practicing the “mathy” questions in their course. The majority of math and science final exam questions (anywhere from 70% – 80%) are questions that require students to do calculations and use key equations, so if a student wants to score as high as possible on their final, they must feel comfortable with solving these types of questions. With this in mind, students should spend the majority of their studying time practicing doing problems with calculations, as this will give a student the best chance at success on their final.