With final exams just around the corner, you may be feeling tired, stressed and unsure about the best way to prepare for your exams. Here are some tips you can use to make a plan and avoid last minute cramming.

Big Picture Preparation

Tackling these tasks now will get you organized and help you keep track of the smaller tasks later on.

  • Revisit your Course Outlines and identify key information for your study plan, which should take into account: assignments and projects due over the next few weeks; the weight and format of your exams; and your previous performance in each course (use the GPA Calculator for this).
  • Use the Academic Success Centre’s Term Calendar to map out all of your deadlines, exams and personal commitments. Post it in a visible place. 
  • Make a Final Exam Inventory for each of your courses to help guide your studying.

Chart containing course information

  • Map out your time for each week. Once you have created a Term Calendar and Final Exam Inventory for each course, it will be helpful to add the necessary study time into a Weekly Planner.

Calendar schedule

Make the Most of Your Last Classes

Remember that material taught in these last weeks of class will be included in your final exams, so it’s a good idea to come prepared for these last classes by doing your readings ahead of time.

Study Habits of Successful People

  1. Put content into context: instead of memorizing fact and figures, try to use examples or concept maps to understand and connect abstract ideas.
  2. Practice, practice, practice: when studying math-based content, do as many practice exercises as you can and focus on understanding the process by which you solve problems.
  3. Self-evaluate: put away your study materials and try to recite out loud or sketch what you know. You can also try explaining ideas to a study partner as a way to understand and remember material.
  4. Switch it up: don’t study one idea one way for too long. Instead, make links between ideas and then switch study methods to keep your focus fresh.
  5. Reward yourself: take regular breaks and use a timer so you know when to take a break and when to return to studying.
  6. Get physical: a short 10-15 minute aerobic workout is a great way to stimulate blood flow to your brain so you can return to studying alert and focused.
  7. Take care of yourself: eating regular healthy meals, getting enough sleep and scheduling in some downtime can all help you to feel balanced during a stressful time of year.

Exam Day Dos and Don’ts

On exam day:

DO arrive early and do some deep breathing

DO read the exam carefully and follow the instructions

DON’T panic if you don’t know an answer right away; mark it and come back to it

DO give yourself time at the end to verify your answers

DON’T worry if other students finish early and start leaving

DON’T compare your answers with your classmates’ after the exam; what’s done is done

DO give yourself a pat on the back and get ready to enjoy your holiday break

Connect with a Peer Academic Coach or a Learning Strategist today

Posted by Joana Londoño

Joana Londoño is a Learning Strategist in TRSM’s Academic Success Centre. She has worked at Ryerson University for 11 years and has a rich blend of experience from various roles that have supported student achievement. Joana believes that academic achievement doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and brings her broad Ryerson experience and network into the Learning Strategist role, to keep TRSM students engaged and motivated. She firmly believes that with the right balance of challenge and support all students are capable of thriving beyond their expectations. Joana holds a master’s degree in Communication & Culture and is fluent in Spanish, French and Portuguese.