November 15, 2020

A Guide to Preparing for Finals 

The days and weeks leading up to finals week can be stressful for students. If you haven’t prepared for them, they could lead to sleepless nights and lots of anxiety. 

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some effective study hacks to help you ace your final exams.


Find a place conducive to studying. 

There may be times when you find the typical rooms to rent in Ottawa are too distracting. You may have noisy roommates, or you might be tempted to slack off and play video games all day. If so, a change of scenery is in order.  

Find a good study spot that is free from distractions. Some students prefer the silence of the library, while others thrive when studying in a bustling coffee shop.


Break down the material. 

Cramming everything you’ve learned in a semester within a couple of nights will not do you any good. Learn to pace yourself, break down the material into groups, and review them in stages. 


Drink plenty of water.

Instead of relying on sodas and energy drinks to keep you going, drink water to keep yourself hydrated and energized. One study says that drinking water can be just the mental boost you need to perform well on an exam. An occasional cup of coffee can also help you achieve focus and clarity while studying.


Create an incentive.

You can incentivize learning to motivate yourself to start studying. For example, you can treat yourself to a piece of candy every time you finish a chapter. You can even make a promise to reward yourself to some nice steak or a night on the town if you did well at the end of the exams.     

Make sure to match the reward with the achievement. If you did extremely well on all of your exams, you can reward yourself with some retail therapy to maintain your streak.


Join a study group. 

Find a study partner or join a study group in your class. Working with other people helps you develop good study habits, and makes the learning process a lot more fulfilling and enjoyable. 

You can compare notes and ask each other if you’re stumped on a particular topic. Some students find it easier to ask questions in a smaller group rather than in a large class. 


Create a mental association.

Ordinary things are too forgettable, which is why you need to associate them with images that are memorable. Use visual imagery to make learning easier. You can break down information and associate concepts with a strong image in your head. 

Your brain responds better to visuals, so underline or highlight important keywords in your notes. Create visual cues by transferring your notes into outlines, charts, and mind maps.  


Take a break.

If you’ve been studying for quite a while, take a 10- to 15-minute break every 30 minutes to refresh your mind. Stand up, do a bit of stretching, and get some fresh air. You’ll come back from your break with more focus and energy. 


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