Tips for Studying: 21 Best Study Tips for Final Exams (2024)

Final exams and big semester-end papers are among the most challenging aspects of the college experience. There is so much to learn, keep organized, and remember as you head into finals. Following effective study tips can help reduce stress and increase your grade point average.

Not every studying technique works for every student, so experiment with a few of these important study tips to find out which ones work best for you.

1. Make the Most of Class Time

Attend all class sessions, pay close attention to the lectures, and take notes in a way that makes sense for you. The goal is to be able to understand your notes when you review them later.

“Taking good notes means you pay more attention during class,” suggests Oliver, a Chinese international student at the University of Kansas. “When you prepare for the test, it will be really helpful.” And if something does not make sense, raise your hand and ask, or make a note to follow up with your professor or teacher assistant (also known as a TA) after class.

2. Study with Classmates

In addition to making friends, forming study groups in each of your classes is a valuable—and fun—way to review for tests. Working together helps develop good study habits, increases collaboration on group projects, and boosts confidence. “Find a partner to compare notes with,” Oliver adds. “You can work together, study together, help each other, and push each other to be better.”

3. Take Advantage of Office Hours

If you are having trouble with a concept or topic, your professors can help. Stop by during their office hours or email questions to your professor to understand the class material better, gain helpful study tips on how to prepare for your exams or write a better essay. You will also create a relationship with your instructor that could lead to a valuable mentorship.

TIP: If it is written on the board, add it to your notes. It just might be on the test.

4. Create Flashcards

One of the top study tips for college students includes rewriting important facts, concepts, and definitions on flashcards. Flashcards also let you quiz yourself without the help of others. Digital flashcards and study apps are another way to organize and review the material.

5. Find a Good Study Spot

Some people like the complete silence of a library setting, while others like the stimulation of a busy café. Some students prefer sitting at their desks to study, others like a study spot outside in the sun.

A star student at KU, Oliver prefers a quiet spot, away from distractions. “At home, you’ll want to fall asleep or play computer games,” he said. “So, I go to the library to study.” The best study environment for you is the one that feels most productive, so try out a few places to see which works best.

6. Switch It Up

Taking too much time on one subject can make you lose your concentration. One of the most important study tips for college exams is to change topics every 30 minutes or so to prevent learning fatigue. Revisit challenging topics once you have given your brain a break.

7. Read and Review—Early and Often

According to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve principle, we forget 70% of what we have learned within 24 hours. Going over new ideas a day after class will help increase retention and comprehension—so make time each evening for a quick review. Break chapters into sections and review the material at the end of each before moving on. Make notes by summarizing the critical aspects of the reading so you can easily review them without having to reread entire chapters. Bookmark difficult sections to revisit later.

8. Stay Organized

Scheduling class meetings, homework, assignments, projects, and study sessions is crucial to staying organized. Use a planner to keep track of deadlines, dates, and times so you do not forget anything important. Check your class syllabus for key dates and plan out the time for a study schedule that works for you.

9. Visualize the Material

Focus on the most important parts of your class notes by condensing the material and underlining or highlighting key words and concepts. Not a fan of traditional written notes? Try reformatting them into charts, diagrams, mind maps, or outlines to create visuals that can help you make sense of complex concepts.

10. Find a Tutor

Tutors are available on most college campuses and are typically fellow students who specialize in or excel at a given topic. If you are a student at a Shorelight partner university, talk to your Student Service Advisor about our special academic support services for international students. Tutors are available in all subjects, and we offer ESL practice, too.

11. Focus on Understanding

Memorizing means finding ways to remember and repeat facts. Understanding goes a little deeper, and means you can apply new knowledge to various scenarios and know how it relates to other concepts. College exams often test understanding, not just memorization.

12. Attend the Review Session

If your professor or teacher assistant is offering a pre-test review session before finals week, make sure to attend. This is where you can learn important information on the format of the exam and what may be covered in the questions, as well as key topics to focus your studies.

TIP: Final exams and midterms tend to count heavily toward your final average, whereas classwork, papers, and quizzes tend to factor in less. Check your syllabus to find out how your college exams will affect your final grade.

13. Stay Focused

Keeping your mind on track can be as simple as taking a break from your phone and your friends. Put on some instrumental music or noise-canceling headphones and put your mobile on airplane mode to help you focus on your studies.

14. Take Breaks

Give your brain and body a chance to refresh so you can approach the material with energy and focus. According to Oxford Learning, “for every 30 minutes you study, take a short 10–15-minute break to recharge. Short study sessions are more effective and help you make the most of your study time.” So, stand up, stretch your legs, and get some fresh air before getting back to the books.

TIP: Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which can give you more energy and better comprehension. A yoga or stretching session can help with concentration and focus.

15. Take Good Care of Yourself

Filling up on junk food to save time is not the smartest strategy for studying. Instead, keep a balanced diet of “brain foods” like fresh fruits and vegetables, balanced with protein and healthy fats to fuel your mind. The same goes for sleep: Plan to get a good night’s rest the night before the exam.

16. Pace Yourself

Cramming in all your studying during finals week can lead to burnout and anxiety. Split the material into topics and review in stages to fully absorb information into real understanding (see tip 11). The night before, write out a few key ideas to look over before the exam.

If you take a one-hour class, you need to take two extra hours out of the classroom to study. So, if you’re taking 15 hours a week, you need to have 30 hours to study after class.” – Oliver, University of Kansas

17. Take the Right Approach

Different types of college exams require different study approaches. Multiple choice means focusing on definitions and concepts. Essay tests require you to exhibit a conceptual understanding of the material. Ask your professor about the format of the exam so you know how to prepare.

18. Learn by Teaching Others

Explaining concepts to a classmate is a great way to make sure you really understand the material yourself—and to help them learn as well. When you find new ways to explain a concept, you are mastering the information by processing it for others.

19. Have Fun with Words

Breaking down the material into small pieces and creating acronyms, phrases, rhymes, or metaphors can be a valuable—and fun—way to memorize concepts. For example, students studying business strategies will remember acronyms like “POGO SQUINT”:

Performance objectives


Global factors

Overcoming resistance to change

Supply chain management

Quality management

Inventory management

New product/service design and development


No matter how silly, this method can help you remember important concepts for your exams. Share your useful acronyms and rhymes with your study group to give other students interesting and unexpected study techniques.

20. Test Your Knowledge

Once you know the format, try creating a practice exam based on what you think the test might cover. This will help you understand the material on a deeper level, and guide what you should be studying. You can then use your practice exam to quiz yourself and your study group.

21. Reward Yourself

Good study habits are hard work! Treat yourself to breaks and little rewards to keep you going. Healthy snacks, nice walks outside, or even an episode of your favorite TV show are good ways to keep you motivated.

Knowing your own effective study strategies is key to success in your college career, and will help with career projects and presentations after graduation, too. Finding the study tips that work best for you will save you time and energy and earn you the best results.

Ask a Shorelight advisor about academic support services for international students >

Tips for Studying: 21 Best Study Tips for Final Exams (2024)


Tips for Studying: 21 Best Study Tips for Final Exams? ›

Let's take a closer look at how many hours should you study for an exam. A general rule is to spend two hours on homework or studying for every hour that your class meets.

How to get a 100 on a final exam? ›

Follow these study tips to make your best grade!
  1. Get informed. Don't walk into your test unprepared for what you will face. ...
  2. Think like your teacher. ...
  3. Make your own study aids. ...
  4. Practice for the inevitable. ...
  5. Study every day. ...
  6. Cut out the distractions. ...
  7. Divide big concepts from smaller details. ...
  8. Don't neglect the “easy” stuff.

How can I focus 100% on studying? ›

  1. Create a suitable study environment. ...
  2. Set clear, precise goals. ...
  3. Create a study schedule. ...
  4. Along with a study 'ritual' ...
  5. Don't forget: Share your study schedule with friends and family. ...
  6. Block out all possible distractions. ...
  7. Try the Pomodoro Technique. ...
  8. Keep a record of all the tasks you've completed.

How do you pass the final exam? ›

Ace Your Finals with These Eight Strategies
  1. Prioritize! You know your classes better than anyone. ...
  2. Make a study schedule. Don't skip this step! ...
  3. Re-write your notes. ...
  4. Test your knowledge. ...
  5. Teach someone else. ...
  6. Get rid of the distractions. ...
  7. Stay healthy. ...
  8. Just do it!

How many hours should I study for my final exam? ›

Let's take a closer look at how many hours should you study for an exam. A general rule is to spend two hours on homework or studying for every hour that your class meets.

How to properly study? ›

Learn how to study effectively with these ten tips.
  1. Get organised. ...
  2. Don't skip class! ...
  3. Take notes. ...
  4. Talk to your teacher & ask questions. ...
  5. Space out your studying. ...
  6. Create a study plan – & stick to it. ...
  7. Don't just re-read but study. ...
  8. Set up a quiet study space.

How can I study 10x faster? ›

Here are ten ways, backed by science, to speed up the learning process.
  1. Say out loud what you want to remember.
  2. Take notes by hand, not on a computer.
  3. Chunk your study sessions.
  4. Test yourself. A lot.
  5. Change the way you practice.
  6. Exercise regularly.
  7. Get more sleep.
  8. Learn several subjects in succession.
Dec 13, 2018

What is the best time to study? ›

According to scientists, the best time to study is between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm and between 4:00 pm and 10:00 night. The worst time to study is between 4:00 am to 7:00 am, so if you're balancing other duties while studying, it could be best to study at night rather than earlier in the day.

How can I force myself to study? ›

How to find the motivation to study
  1. Remember your 'why'
  2. Set clear goals.
  3. Celebrate small study goals.
  4. Set up a study plan.
  5. Avoid procrastination.
  6. Create an encouraging study space.
  7. Fake it till you make it.
  8. Get lost in music.

How can I be first in final exam? ›

Tips for Studying: 21 Best Study Tips for Final Exams
  1. Make the Most of Class Time. ...
  2. Study with Classmates. ...
  3. Take Advantage of Office Hours. ...
  4. Create Flashcards. ...
  5. Find a Good Study Spot. ...
  6. Switch It Up. ...
  7. Read and Review—Early and Often. ...
  8. Stay Organized.

How can I study fast without forgetting for exams? ›

Strategies to never forget what you learn
  1. Make sure you understand what you need to learn. ...
  2. Make connections to information you already know. ...
  3. Use the Pomodoro technique. ...
  4. Use mnemonics. ...
  5. Use the Memory Palace technique. ...
  6. Write new information down. ...
  7. Practice interleaving. ...
  8. Use distributed practice.
Mar 10, 2023

How do I not fail my final exam? ›

Start early. Start studying for finals a few weeks before the first exam, and figure out how much time to set aside each day for each subject. Be realistic about how long it will take to, say, memorize the dates for all the Civil War battles. You need to fit in brain breaks, too!

What is the 2 3 5 7 study method? ›

Revise a topic, then revisit it the next day, after three days, and after seven days. This is thought to be the perfect amount of time to help your brain remember information. If you prefer to do your revision online this could be the hack for you.

Is 2 days enough to study for an exam? ›

Ideally, studying should start at least five days in advance of the exam to allow students an ample amount of time to go over course concepts and materials, and reach out to their instructor or peers if they find they have any questions.

How many days before an exam should you study? ›

Preparing study material for an exam is an active process.

Staring this five days before your exam helps solidify the material, plus it gives you time to identify what you still don't understand so you can get your questions answered.

How to get 100 on a multiple choice test? ›

Multiple-Choice Test Taking Tips and Strategies
  1. Read the entire question. ...
  2. Answer it in your mind first. ...
  3. Eliminate wrong answers. ...
  4. Use the process of elimination. ...
  5. Select the best answer. ...
  6. Read every answer option. ...
  7. Answer the questions you know first. ...
  8. Make an educated guess.

How do you get your grades up to 100? ›

Top Tips on How to Get Good Grades
  1. Attend All Your Classes. Try your absolute best to attend all of your classes. ...
  2. Master Your Professors. ...
  3. Stay Organized. ...
  4. Time Management. ...
  5. Taking Notes. ...
  6. Become An Active Listener. ...
  7. Participate In Class. ...
  8. Develop Good Writing Study Habits.

What out of 100 is a passing grade? ›

C - this is a grade that rests right in the middle. C is anywhere between 70% and 79% D - this is still a passing grade, and it's between 59% and 69% F - this is a failing grade.

How to grade papers out of 100? ›

However, a typical, easy-to-use grade scale is:
  1. 90-100% = A.
  2. 80-89% = B.
  3. 70-79% = C.
  4. 60-69% = D.
  5. 59% and below = F.
Jul 3, 2019


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated:

Views: 5871

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.