As it gets closer to the holidays, you will be anticipating finals. Do not wait until the last minute to start your review and study sessions. Start reviewing at least three weeks ahead of time to make sure that you are well prepared. If you wait until the last few days before the exam and cram, you will more than likely not be able to remember the information because it will not be stored in your long term memory. Instead, during the first week of review begin by reviewing over your notes. It is best that you review your notes throughout the semester. As you start reviewing your notes, highlight the important ideas and add in more information that you have learned from your reading. In other words, fill in any missing information from your notes as you probably were in a hurry writing everything down. Make sure to take thorough notes so that you are able to remember the main ideas the teacher has discussed because more than likely they are going to use mostly information from what they have talked about in class, along with adding details regarding this information from the book on the exam. They expect you to have done all the reading so that you know the details in correspondence with the main ideas and concepts they have focused on in class. Once you have added in any missing information from your notes and added details from the text based on the main ideas written in your notes, type out the new notes on your computer. Use bullet points to emphasize the main ideas and make sure to add plenty of details combining your notes with the text. You can color code your notes to organize the main ideas. You can also make flash cards with the information you have gathered from your notes and the book to review for exams, and this way you will be able to make sure you have mastered the materials. Read and re-read your notes.
During the last week or two before your finals re-read the chapters focusing on the main ideas the teacher has discussed in class. Annotate your text with notes from class and review your text. Make sure to focus on the dark print terms in the text and the information under the pictures in your text book. Anything is fair game on the final. Do not just focus on the main terms, but all of the main ideas as a whole in the chapter. Read the notes at the end of the chapter if there are any and review your homework questions. The homework questions could reappear in the exam because the teacher has let you know that they are significant. Also, if you have your tests from the semester, make sure to review them because the teacher may use material from old test questions in a different context or the exact ones. Once you have studied your revised notes and the book, write down everything you can remember and check what you know about the terms and the ideas with your notes and the book. Fill in any missing information or change information that you missed. Re-read over the revisions and repeat this pattern until you can remember most everything. This will prove that the information you have studied is in your long term memory. You should not get test anxiety or go blank because you know the material and you can recall the information. You can also use creative techniques to recall information and terms using rhymes or connecting one term to the next in a way that you can remember. You can use diagrams, charts, webs, or graphs to help you connect information and remember it for recall purposes. Teach the material to someone else to make sure you have the information down. Hold a study group and write down any questions you have and compare and contrast answers with your friends. Write down questions based on the terms that you think might be on the test and cover over the answer when you are reviewing. These are all great studying techniques to make sure you have mastered the materials. Once you get to the exam, you will be confident that you know the information by following these strategies.
Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.