How to: Study for Final Exams in College

Taking an exam in high school is exponentially different than taking a final exam in college. Now, I don’t mean to put college on a pedestal because in the majority of opinion, although college is better than high school, it’s still school, and ultimately receives a thumbs down. But it truly is different! I mean, they even make you buy your own scantrons, which is a bit repulsive and hits my gut the wrong way. Nonetheless, I do what I have to do to survive and thrive.

Studying has to be done. (photo by Skakerman)

Studying has to be done. (photo by Skakerman)

Today, I took my first final exam. It was a bit scary, but I was actually very ready for it, in my opinion. I always calculate how well I did on a test based on what I absolutely, undoubtedly got correct. If my calculations were correct, I have finished my first college course with a B. Which is fine, because honestly, I haven’t been trying too hard and I probably don’t even deserve the B.

In lieu of preparations to take final exams in college, I did a bit of research on the best ways to study, when your teachers don’t give you reviews and you kind of are just left alone with the curriculum laid out in front of you. It’s a bit tricky to try to figure out what exactly they are looking for, from you.

In The Huffington Post’s Study Tips for Exams: 12 Ways to Ace Your Finals, I found the most help. For your convenience, I have listed some of their general tips with brief descriptions below. To view the original article, click here.

  • Study in Chunks – “chunking,” as psychologists have coined the term, is a lot like our phone number system today. We memorize things easier in chunks – much like how we divide phone numbers by area code, three numbers, and then the final four.
  • Listen to 60BPM music – Accordingly, this type of music, which can be found in a lot of classical music, stimulates both sides of the brain, which allows for easier recall.
  • I don’t agree with this tip, because I was always taught to study in the same place so as to recall easier by association – but they say switching up your location for studying will improve your memory.
  • Drink Cocoa – For mental stimulation and energy, mix hot milk with a spoonful of cocoa and perhaps other spices, like nutmeg or cinnamon.
  • Study in Groups – My favorite way to study in high school was at the lunch table, quizzing each other. It became a competition for us nerdy folk.
  • Approach Each Class Differently. The article even offers a guide on how to approach each class in study. For example, Chemistry study tips are generally different than Math study tips.
  • Mnemonic Devices are Your Friends. Without these types of memory aids, how would you ever remember that DMV is the best way to remember Density = Mass over Volume?
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