Top Tips to Prepare for Finals

Concrete ways to plan and execute your finals prep.

While finals are fast approaching, it’s not too late to devise a study plan.

Getting started early on studying for finals will help you avoid the stress of last-minute cramming. It’s a well-documented fact that we need to be exposed to an idea a number of times before we can truly internalize it. For instance, it can sometimes take up to 40 exposures to a new word before we can successfully integrate it into our vocabulary. So the earlier you begin exposing yourself to test material the more it will sink in for the big exam.

Below are some top tips to help you effectively prepare for finals.

1. Make a study plan starting two weeks to four days before your finals

Decide which study strategies to use. 

  • Reorganize and synthesize your notes from class.
  • Use flashcards, highlighters and other tools. 
  • Do you work better with others? Have a friend come over and quiz you on key topics.
  • Decide how long will you spend on each strategy and set the goal of each study session. 

2. Mix it up

Plan short study sessions for multiple subjects in one night. Ideally, the plan for each test will involve four or more 30-minute sessions. Use varied strategies to study the same information. For example:

  • Study session 1: color-code your notes
  • Study session 2: re-organize them
  • Study session 3: create a study guide
  • Study session 4: have someone quiz you using your study guide

3. Post key information in places where you are likely to see it.

  • Put a cheat sheet on your bathroom mirror and look over it while you brush your teeth.
  • Put post-its throughout the house so that you see them while you go through your day.

4. Prioritize and organize information as you go

Arranging information in a clear way can help you focus.

  • Divide and conquer by grouping concepts into larger categories, That way, you can link ideas together in your mind.
  • Go back through old assignments and pull out key ideas, especially ones that you missed the first time.

5. Reward yourself

Studying doesn’t have to be pure slog. Research shows that giving your mind regular breaks allows it to better master information. So, make sure to schedule in constructive rest at regular intervals throughout your studying.

  • Plan social events with your friends once you’re all done. Get together and celebrate all your hard work.
  • Take it easy the night before the test. The whole point of planning is to avoid cramming. If you’ve done it right, you should be able to relax the night before the test. There’s nothing wrong with some low-impact reviewing (like looking at flash cards), but the bulk of the work should be complete at this point.


Procrastination plagues us all at some time or other. However a little bit of strategic planning can take what often feels insurmountable and break it into small, easily digestible pieces. If you need more tips or strategies don’t hesitate to contact us. Good luck out there—summer’s almost here.