Study Tips for Semester Exams


We hope that the beginning of finals season is going well for everyone! As students start to think about how they will tackle their exams, we wanted to give some tips and tricks for studying as well as how to make the most out of your tutoring sessions with us!

Get Organized 

The very first thing I often advise my students to do is to get each of their subjects organized. Go through your notes, gather old quizzes and tests, and track down the syllabus from each unit to make a more deliberate studying plan. I use folders and paperclips to keep my things together once I have them in order. It can also be helpful to organize your notes by topics most likely to appear on your exams. You can get this information from previous tests as well as your final review.

Make a Game Plan

Once you have yourself organized, make a game plan for studying. This can include scheduling your tutoring sessions a week or so in advance, seeing what kind of reviews are going on at school and making time for them, and forming study groups. Another thing I like to do while making a plan is writing in a planner or on my phone which subjects I will study on which days and how long I will spend on each subject. This also allows you to schedule more time to study for more difficult subjects and topics. You can appropriate your time so that last minute panics won’t happen! Once you have your studying needs set and scheduled, now you have to executive!

Start Early

Semester exams are right around the corner, so it is important not to wait until the weekend before finals to start cramming. You have learned a lot this semester! It will take more than one study session to review what you need to know. It is also a more productive use of time to revisit material more frequently over shorter periods of time rather than pulling an all-nighter right before your test. This is particularly important for subjects you might be struggling with. If you didn’t have a super firm grasp on something the first time it was presented to you, then you will need more review time for the semester exam.

Study Aids

When it comes to actually studying the material, different strategies work for different people. I am a huge fan of note cards. If you have come to see me with some regularity, I have probably told you to make note cards. This is a helpful way to learn vocabulary words, equations, polyatomic ions, history dates…whatever you need to memorize! Note cards are super portable and very helpful. Some other study aids include: rewriting your notes, teaching the concept to a friend, teacher, or parent, making a study group with friends, and reworking old quizzes and tests. Reworking old exams is particularity helpful, as it lets you know which areas you might still be weak and need extra focus.

Take Care of Yourself

This is a very stressful time of year. We all want to do well on our tests, and sometimes we lose sight of taking care of our bodies through the studying process. It is important to still get the right amount of sleep and eat good, nourishing foods to help our brains do their best work! This also includes taking studying breaks. For reference, I try to take a ten minute break for every hour of studying I do. This is another reason why starting your studying early is so important. You can feel tempted to lose out on sleep/rest when you feel as if there isn’t enough time to get ready for your tests. But losing too much sleep can be damaging to your focus and comprehension.

Come Prepared for your Tutoring Session

This preparation should include coming with questions. Figure out what you already know so that we can focus on where your understanding is a bit shakier. Know which kinds of problems you want extra work with. If you communicate that to our office in advance, we will be sure to have those problems ready for you. Another part of being prepared is scheduling your appointments early in advance. We will book up, and we don’t want anyone not to be able to get in.

We do hope that some of these tips were helpful and that you succeed with your studying plans.

Happy Studying!