5 Helpful Tips for Acing Your College Finals

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There are few times in one's life more stressful than college finals. They tend to carry a lot of weight for your final grade, and if you've already started to fall behind, then there's extra pressure to really perform lest you fall right off the Dean's list and join the ranks of the mediocre achievers. Here are 5 helpful tips for acing your college finals. Published for Washington State University 

Student at Washington State University
Student at Washington State University

1. Complete all of your reading
The first step to making sure that you do well in all of your classes is to do all of your required reading. Sometimes it's best to get a lay of the land by reading through the table of contents and the chapter reviews at the end of each chapter before you jump into the meat of the text. That way you have a point of reference for the material you are about to dig into. Also, always do your reading with a highlighter in hand.

2. Take proficient notes
In every class you should take as many notes as you possibly can. When you do your reading, you should take all the text that you've highlighted and synthesize it in your notes. You also want to write down the page where the information came from so that if you need to site it in a paper, you know where to find it. You also want to take thorough notes while you're in lecture, because the simple act of writing the information will help you visualize the material in your mind.

3. Review notes and readings
At the end of the term just before finals, you want to go back through your lecture and reading notes one last time. You will get even more out of this review time is if you have a study partner to help reinforce the information.

If you have a great study buddy or group who also have great study skills, then you can really maximize your potential for success. Before you take a test for each chapter or unit, you should try and see if you can summarize the main points of the material on one sheet of paper. By the end of the semester, these review sheets will really help you to navigate through the intricacies of the curriculum.

4. Attend office hours
Every professor keeps regular office hours when students can come and visit to ask questions, but very few students actually take them up on the offer. In fact, that's why it makes such a difference if you decide to be one of those rare students.

Not only will you be able to ask questions about the material being covered and get advice about how to approach your professor's class, but you will also have the opportunity to create strong bonds with your professors, which will really come in handy when you need letters of recommendation.

5. Catch up on sleep
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of college students make is not getting enough sleep. A study with students at colleges such as Washington State University showed that students who prioritized at least 7 hours of sleep per night during their finals week performed 25% better than students who averaged less than 7 hours each night.

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