Study Tips to Help You Cram for Final Exams

Study Tips to Help You Cram for Final Exams

Draven Jackson
Blogger | Teacher

Winter brings with it so many happy things like laughter, lights, and Christmas parties with the people you love – but it also brings a dreaded time for students everywhere: final exams. Test season is a difficult few weeks full of cramming, revising, and trying not to cry over all the things you can’t seem to remember. If this is you or your student, don’t worry – we’ve all been there.

As a teacher, I’ve tried to find various ways to help students prepare for final exams. Everyone’s study methods are different, so discovering ways that suit your needs means trying out as many tips and ideas as possible. Here are seven study tips that are sure to help you prepare for final exams.

Do drills daily

Recently, I had an exam of my own that I needed to study for. I was trying to study with flashcards and apps, but some of the content didn’t work very well with these methods. One thing I discovered was that drilling is a great way to cram for final exams. Investing in a drill book for the subject you’re trying to study can be incredibly helpful for memorization and making patterns.

Doing daily drills on the days leading up to the exam can be a great way to learn math sets, formulas, and language grammar rules. It will allow you to practice the types of questions you might see on your exam over and over until answering them becomes second nature to you. Also, you’ll be able to track common mistakes and problems you may not understand.

Make a game of it

Study Tips to Help You Cram for Final ExamsFor my students, when final exams are coming up, I like to make review games to help them study the material in a more interesting and creative way. This doesn’t have to be a boring or simple question-and-answer game – there are tons of free PowerPoint and slide templates online that you can use to help you build your review game. After finishing it, get together with some of your friends and play together!

Not only will you be forced to remember the rules and answers to common problems while making the questions, but it’s also a lot of fun to review in a competitive and fun setting.

Take breaks and do something fun

One huge setback with students studying for final exams is that they don’t take the proper breaks necessary to decompress and relieve their brains. While studying for hours on end may seem like the most effective way to learn material, eventually your brain will cap out with the information that it’s able to absorb. You need to take breaks from time to time to give your brain a chance to store the information you already learned and make room for new information.

Not to mention, during times when you’re studying material that just doesn’t seem to stick, taking a break keeps you from getting frustrated and overwhelmed. If you’re too stressed or anxious about a certain topic, it will be harder for your brain to retain the necessary information. Relax from time to time to keep from being overloaded with information and anxiety.

Make flashcards

A classic study method; making flashcards to help you study for your final exams is a great way to memorize certain material. While it may not work for every subject or problem, flashcards are great if you’re trying to study vocabulary, dates, or formulas. It’s a tried-and-true classic we all fall back on!

By making your flashcards, you have the opportunity to write down all of the words, dates, or formulas that you need to memorize before you start practicing them. Then, much like drilling, the repetitive nature of studying with flashcards can help you memorize them faster! You may also want to throw in real-world examples of the words or formulas being used just to help you remember the context of them.

Ask a friend to help

Studying with a friend or asking for assistance from someone who might be good at the subject you’re studying can be a great way to study. While I was studying for my Japanese exam, I asked my friend (who is fluent in Japanese) to explain problems and vocabulary to me that I didn’t understand. She was able to provide a lot of context and useful examples that I can’t always get from books, and I remembered a lot of what she taught me while I was taking my exam.

Studying with a friend can help you create memorable conversations that will help you when it comes time for your exam. It also allows you to ask people specific questions that you may not be able to learn otherwise (such as why you use this formula instead of that one). Remember that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes and a friend is a great person to go to when you need a little assistance.

Get plenty of sleep

An important tip for preparing for final exams that is so often forgotten: get plenty of sleep leading up to and the night before the exam. Pulling all-nighters is fine every once in a while, but studying all night isn’t as beneficial as it may seem. Sleep deprivation can weaken your brain’s memory, making it harder to retain the information you need for the exam.

So make sure that you work “get a full night’s rest” into your to-do list while you’re cramming. Getting enough sleep will help your mind feel satisfied and refreshed, giving you a better chance of doing well on your tests!

Put your phone and computer away to avoid distractions

While taking breaks is a necessary step for studying for final exams, I also recommend that you put away your phone and computer while you’re studying to avoid distractions. Unless you are using these devices to study, only use them when you’re enjoying your allotted break time. Having access to messaging apps and social media might make it difficult to stay on task, meaning you won’t be able to do as much revising and drilling as you might need to.

I know it’s easy to think “But I have self-control, I won’t just use my phone because it’s near me.” And while this may be true for some – I, unfortunately, do not have that much self-control – in the long run it’s better just to put it away completely to avoid distraction. Out of sight, out of mind!

Do you have more study tips for students who need help cramming for final exams? Tell us in the comments!

Draven Jackson HeadshotAbout Draven Jackson

Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.

To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.


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