9 Ways to Start Preparing for Finals Week Now

Woman scratching her head while studying

Finals week can be hugely stressful for students — but it doesn’t have to be. By preparing in advance, you’ll give yourself confidence that you have the ability to achieve the grades you want. Here are some tips to consider.

1. Ask Questions

Know exactly what to expect from your finals by asking your professors, TAs, and other academic staff plenty of questions. Make sure you’re clear about the format of the exam, the material you’ll cover, and what you need to bring on the day.

2. Go the Review Session

You may find that your professor answers all the questions you have about the exam at the review session. It’s important to attend to clear up any doubts and find out what kinds of topics will come up in the exam.

3. Create a Study Schedule

Write an outline of everything you need to know for your finals and use this to create a schedule for studying. By sticking to a schedule, you’ll avoid the need to cram, which should result in much better grades.

4. Take Regular Breaks

Another advantage of starting early is you’ll be able to take plenty of breaks without feeling like you need to use all the time at your disposal. Besides, you retain much more information when you only study for short periods instead of hours at a time.

5. Hold Group Sessions

Mix things up by studying in a group as well as alone. This will help keep your motivation high, give you the chance to discuss topics you find difficult, and allow you to explain concepts to others, which is a great way to make sure you fully understand the subject matter.

6. Sleep Enough
It can be difficult to sleep enough every night when you’re at university, but it’s important to try because staying well rested will contribute to your learning. Always go to bed on time when you have a morning class the next day and make sure you consistently stick to a bedtime on the days leading up to finals week.

7. Prioritize Difficult Classes

There’s no need to dedicate the same amount of study time to each of your classes. In fact, it makes sense to devote more time to preparing for difficult exams.

8. Tailor Your Studying for the Style of Exam

Exams assess completely different skills depending on whether they have multiple choice questions, require short answers like definitions or calculations, or involve writing an essay. According to the style of the exam, it may be more important to memorize facts or it could be necessary to understand how concepts relate to each other.

9. Practice with Exam Questions

Find out if your professor can give you a copy of past exams. This will show you what to expect and allow you to practice with real questions. If this isn’t possible, make your own questions, such as on flashcards or by writing potential essay questions. Share the questions you come up with in your study group — other members may have ideas you never would have thought of.

Preparing for finals requires having a space to study in peace. At MyRez, you’ll have a private, fully-furnished bedroom where you can focus on your schoolwork without facing distractions. Plus, our UWaterloo off-campus housing has large study spaces on site — as well as a games room and fitness centre for when you need a break. Book a tour to see where you could be living when finals week rolls around next time.

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