Nine Simple Study Tips That Will Help You Prepare for Finals


The approach of finals week sends feelings of dread into the pits of many students’ stomachs, no matter how old they are. The good desks in the library are suddenly perpetually full, the campus café comes close to running out of coffee, and tired students shut themselves off from their friends and dive into their textbooks. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration; the campus café knows better than to run out of coffee at the end of a semester. But the rest holds true.

The campus atmosphere changes when it comes time for finals. Students self-isolate, there are fewer parties, and the school may enforce more stringent quiet hours. At Carleton College, my alma mater, we participated in a particular weird tradition: Primal screaming. The admissions website explains it well: “At 10:00 p.m. the night before finals start, Carleton students lean out their windows and let out a collective unearthly wail of anguish and despair. Then they go back to studying.” It’s actually quite cathartic.

Most schools will give students a few days off to study before scheduling finals. Use this time wisely. Instead of taking a mini-vacation to check out the nearest big city, buckle down and do your work. Finals aren’t just tests; there are also research papers, take home exams (which tend to be longer and harder than in-person tests), and group projects. It can be overwhelming, but these tips should help you make the most of your time.

How to Study for Finals

(Text and design by: Megan Clendenon)

Finals can feel like quite the unwanted chore, but they do give you one last chance to raise a slipping grade and impress a teacher. College is for learning, after all. Put in the time, study the material, and go into test day (or the day your assignment is due) ready to prove yourself. Showing your professors that you’ve learned something over the semester is a great reward for them, and brings you one step closer to earning your degree. From all of us here at Student Caffé, good luck!

*The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.


About Megan Clendenon

Megan C. is obsessed with Cincinnati-style chili, Louisville basketball, and Scandinavian crime fiction. She has lived in six different states and held 12 different jobs since beginning her undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 2008. The wanderlust abated somewhat in recent years, as Megan settled in Texas from 2013 to 2016 to finish a master’s degree in geosciences, write a thesis on the future horrors that stem from climate change, and get married. During her free time, you will find Megan sitting on the couch, cheering for her Louisville Cardinals, planning future adventures abroad, and snuggling with her dog, Tiger. She currently lives outside of Washington D.C.

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