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Finals Already?

Yes! It's that time of year again. Finals will begin at the beginning of next month for many schools, and you can choose to either look at it as positive, or negative. On the positive side, finals mean that the semester will be OVER and you will have the opportunity to bring up your final grade. On the negative side, finals are . . . finals. In my opinion, you should focus on the positive side. So here are a few tips to consider when preparing for finals:

  • Count your way forward. A far better idea is to count up from the day the study questions are handed out (or if your prof doesn't bother with such niceties, a week before the exam) to the day the exam will take place.
  • Shed some commitments.

Best-Kept Secret. If you can finish your term papers the week before the last week of classes, it'll free loads of extra time to study for finals.

  • "Triage" your study time. Some students think they should spend equal amounts of time preparing for each of their finals. Instead, proportion your study time to how hard the final is likely to be and how well you already know the material.
  • Figure out what's covered.

[Learn how to relax and ace your exams.]

  • Torture the samples. In the typical college course, there are many resources available that give you specific information about what questions will appear on the final. Sometimes, the professor or TA simply drops hints about what "would make for a good final exam question." But other times, the questions are right there in the open. A study guide, sample final, or set of review questions can often furnish questions amazingly close to the actual exam questions.
  • Study with a group only if it makes sense.
  • Cram with the professor (or TA). One of the best tips!

Read the instructions—and make a plan.

  • Pace yourself.


  • Stay 'til the bitter end. It's amazing to see, but many students leave before the exam is over. That's never a good thing to do, since there are always problems to be checked over or essays to be added to or proofread. Even making a single correction to a problem, or adding a single point to an essay (don't be afraid to pencil a paragraph into the margin or on top of the page), can spell the difference between a good grade and a not-so-good grade.

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