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Five Strategies to Master This Semesters Final Exams

Five Strategies to Master This Semesters Final Exams

1.     Make a universal to-do list and then purposely schedule study time for the days left in the semester. Remember, lifesaver, triage is not just for MCIs. Not all finals are created equal. Accurately assess the degree of difficulty for each exam and triage study appropriately.  Using the pomodoro technique, begin your study sessions to be as short as 15 minutes. Commit to not allowing ANYTHING to intrude on your study time. Track the number of uninterrupted study sessions per day. See if you can increase that number by one the next day.  No matter what your roommate says, cramming is the WORST way to study and a last ditch effort that occurs as a result of lack of preparation.

2.    Build a prototype of the exam you are about to face. If you have studied your professor, as you should have been all semester long, you should be ready to predict the types of questions to be asked as well as their content. Review old tests that you have already taken. See if former students have exams that were given back to them.  For many students, the course objectives are just filler on a page. For most professors, the course objectives form the foundation of their exams.

3.    Draw it out on paper. Make and use mind maps or pictures to symbolize as well as  organize all information.  Don't do this with a computer program. Recent research indicates that handwritten notes (old school...right) seals information in the easy recall areas of the brain. Break out your notebook and Crayons!

4.    Form a study group. Duh!  Hearing, seeing and reading information from multiple viewpoints increases the chances of "stickiness" within the brain. Having the accountability to others in the group, especially if you like them, increases the time you'll spend studying. There really is some truth in "misery loves company".

5.    Finish assignments early. By getting known projects out of the way, this frees up additional time to reinforce material that you may be weak in. Most people work harder when the have a hard and fast deadline looming. Set your deadline BEFORE that given by the professor. Use the extra time to study or even (gasp!) relax.


Author Bill Young teaches at Eastern Kentucky University. He is the Director of the EKU Emergency Medical Care program and a doctoral student praying to graduate in May of 2016. 

Published on November 24, 2015

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