Martie’s Tips for Preparing for Final Exams

Studying - (Image courtesy of shho @ stock.xchng)While I look forward to the end of year to enjoy a break from school and beautiful weather, I, like most other students, dread final exams. However, whether you too are studying for end of year exams or preparing for an Advanced Placement test, I’m confident that my tips will help you have a successful and healthy finals period.



I find that final exams get much more manageable when I plan out my time effectively. I make a weekly plan where I organize my content into “chunks,” and then schedule my chunks into a week making sure to leave time for breaks and exercise. One 10-minute break per hour of studying is recommended for high school and college students, as well as a longer break every three hours.

I like to schedule my time by the hour, but less intense types of organization work too! A good friend of mine sets study goals every four days and leaves her studying much more loosely organized as to when she’ll get to them. It seems to work for her, and could work for you too!

Study Strategies

Finding a study style that works for you can help you retain more information and make the best use of your time. There are four popular types of learners: visual learners, auditory learners, reading/writing learners, and kinesthetic learners. Some people identify very strongly with one type of learner, but many others learn well from two or even three different sources. I work really well with making visual review guides with lots of color designating different subjects.


Time Management

During my tests, I usually make a mini-plan for how I’m going to tackle the assessment. If there is an essay or free-response portion of the test, I start with that to get it over with and move on to multiple choice questions second. I always make sure to bring a watch or sit at a desk where I can see the clock!

Stress Management

Stress is the worst! I felt stress during many of my high school tests, and still feel stress during my college exams today. However, I’ve learned how to manage my stress during exams and not let it overwhelm me by using these tips below:

(However, if you struggle with feelings of anxiety or extreme nervousness during your tests, also check out the fact page on “Test Anxiety” on the Center for Young Women’s Health Website:


After tests, I always always try to focus on what I did well instead of criticizing my mistakes. I try to avoid comparing answers with my friends because the exam is done after you leave the room, so there is no point stressing about a specific answer.

Congratulations on being done with your exam(s)! Now go have an awesome summer!