Students who are struggling often think they can offset poor grades earned earlier in the semester by doing well on the semesters biggest test: The Dreaded Final Exam. In some cases, the weighted score of the final can indeed help improve one’s grade by an entire letter or two. We don’t advocate using this strategy however because the majority of students are taking four, five, or more classes at a time, each with a final exam at the end of the semester; the time needed and stress incurred studying for all of these exams makes it nearly impossible to do well on all of them. That’s why its far better to use a service like BoostMyGrades from the onset of a class, this will ensure consistent grades are earned throughout the duration of the semester and puts less dependence on a single test. We recognize, however, that some students however didn’t realize the scope or difficulty of these classes and tried to tackle them on their own, only to struggle, and are thus in a position where the final exam represents the last chance to bring his or her grade up. Thus, we’ve put together a few tips to help prepare for the exam.
- Start Studying Now, Don’t Leave Yourself only a Day or Two. One of the best way to absorb information is review it time-and-time again, particularly across multiple days. By studying the same information more than once, your brain has a chance to understand, interpret, and analyze it; once analyzed, it can be reinforced over and over. If you only read the material once, your brain may understand it at that moment, but may not be able to retain it. In addition, reviewing the information more than once increases your chance that the time you spend will be quality-time. Studying once or cramming may not be quality time, that is, your brain may be tired or overwhelmed or not-as-sharp as it should be. Try studying over multiple days, and at various times of day to figure out when you are mentally acute and thus have the best chance of absorbing the material.
- Take Notes and Rewrite the Information in a Way that Makes Sense to You. Textbooks can be dry and boring, or may even present information in a illogical way. Once you have a grasp on the material, make sure to codify it in a way that helps you remember and recollect it. That may be by making acronyms (such as using the word HOMES as a way to remember the Great Lakes [Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior]), or developing other techniques like the phrase “My Very Excellent Mom Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” where each first-letter represents the planets of the solar system in order (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
- Study with a Friend. Using a friend or classmate allows you to check the validity of your work, notes, and the scope of the material being tested. Theres nothing worse than receiving a test booklet only to realize you didn’t study the right material because you misunderstood the teacher regarding what would be included on the exam. Moreover, having a study buddy can help come up with acronyms or other methods as described in the point above. Finally, having a pal to study with can turn the boredom of studying into a competitive game; whoever loses buys a case of beer!
- Dont’ Rely on the Answers in the Back of the Book. Everyones fallen into this category: you give yourself a math problem and begin to work on it but quickly get bored and just jump to the back of the book to look at the answer, thinking that seeing the work is as good as working it out yourself, but its not. You need to get in the habit of doing all of the computations associated with a problem. This holds true not just for math, but for all courses whether its economics or even essay/short answer type questions. It will force your brain to recall the material and allow you practice the skills of analysis.
Now that you have these tips, go hit the books… and next time use BoostMyGrades rather than waiting till the final exam to turn your grade around.