How to Prepare for Finals

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

By: Ryan Carney


Finals are on the horizon, and it’s time to start planning.

Some students feel as though they can take finals one day at a time. When it gets dangerously close to their exam, they start studying. When they have a paper due in the next few days, they start writing. And so on…

During finals season, this is a recipe for disaster. It leads to cramming, subpar papers, and low grades. Instead, you can create a clear schedule mapping out not only when you have each final, but also when you will prepare for them.

You can stop by Fulton on Wednesday Dec. 4th from 2-4pm to plan out the last two weeks of your semester with a health coach.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your individual finals plan.

  1. Use a calendar: It can help to print one out and have a hard copy. You can print one out here. Google calendar is another helpful resource.

  2. Be Prepared:Fill in the DATE, TIME, and LOCATION of your finals. You don’t want to be scrambling to find this on the day of the exam.

  3. Make a list:Determine what needs to be done to prepare for each exam. This may include readings, reviewing notes, making flashcards, etc. Write down a list of what specific tasks are necessary to prepare for each exam. Break the tasks up into specific steps that will take less than ONE HOUR each.

  4. Block out time: Once you have a list of what you need to do for each exam, fill them into specific blocks in your calendar. Writing where you will do the task has been proven to increase the probability that you will actually do it. For example:

10:00am – 11:00am: Make flashcards on Biology Ch. 14 notes in Bapst

11:00am – 11:15am: Break

11:20 – 12:20: Make flashcards on Biology Ch 15 notes in Bapst

12:20 – 1:00: Lunch at Eagles


Putting your tasks into a calendar can be less stressful than having them in a long list. A calendar makes it clear that everything will get done as long as you focus on one thing at a time.

5. Find Balance: Make sure that you leave room for breaks, meals, and sleep when you are creating your schedule. If you are looking for a study break, snacks, and a massage, stop by the Health Hub on Wednesday Dec 12 from 1-3pm for Finals Relaxation Day.

When setting up your schedule, ask yourself:

What would today look like if it were a great day? So that I am in a better place at the end of the day than at the start?

When preparing for finals, some students complain that they don’t feel “motivated.” They end up procrastinating instead of studying or writing that paper. Often times though, what students lack is not motivation, but clarity. It is hard to feel motivated when you don’t know where to start.

Listing out specific tasks and writing down where and when you will do them, can give you the clarity you need to get rolling.

So, take the first step and start making that finals plan.

(Here is a link to some printable templates to help you get going!)

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