Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How I Study for Finals

Hi all! So this post is being posted literally as I am taking my last final of my freshman year which is sort of funny to me for whatever reason. As you read this I will be taking my College Algebra final. My current university is on the quarter system which is why I'm still in school. I'm really quite terrible at math but this is the last math class I ever. have. to. take. Thank goodness. Because the rest of my finals were last week I spent Saturday through Tuesday solely focusing on math. My methods vary from finals week to finals week since sometimes I will have a one final schedule like this, where other times I will have a final every day or two finals on one day. In general though, this is how I study and the materials I use to do so.

1. Don't leave it all to the last minute
This one is a tip we hear our entire lives, and although I quarantined myself for four days for my math final, it helped tremendously that my notes taken in class were so well organized, with the most important information highlighted and the highlighted sections being color coded so I knew exactly where to find formulas, theorems, and other items of information just by scanning the page. Stay organized and study as you go!
A page out of my class notes in my math notebook
2. Microsoft OneNote
I'm a huge fan of notebooks, I think they're pretty and I think writing out notes is more beneficial than typing them, especially if you're not one to read over your notes more than when you take them and maybe right before tests. Typing notes, however, is super helpful, and being able to quickly and easily compile and find information as well as being able to print and save it in a binder (easier than a notebook to move pages around) is super helpful. I never truly was able to find a program I liked taking notes on though before Microsoft OneNote. I had tried Evernote which just wasn't my cup of tea, as well as Microsoft Word which is hard to keep track of each page of notes. Microsoft OneNote allows you to create notebooks for each class, tabs for each notebook, and page for each tab. You can highlight, subscript, superscript, insert to-do lists, graphs, tables, and more at the click of a button. You can type anywhere on the page without having to worry about margins or alignment because each note is easily moved around and confined into a text box. It's really the best out there and helped me tremendously.
My math "cram packet" for the final made on Microsoft OneNote
3. Cram Packet
Cram packets were something I discovered when I started taking AP classes in high school. Some wonderful souls compiled lists of cram packets for each AP test. Cram packets are basically detailed study guides with topics and then everything you need to know listed directly under. I now create one of these for each of my finals and midterms because they helped me so much in high school. The above picture (also an example of how Microsoft OneNote looks like) is part of my cram packet for my math final. You can see that each of the chapters have their own page on the right side and I quickly switch between them. I can also search for anything I need in the search bar which is super helpful when I'm looking for a specific concept.

4. Test yourself
This is going to change for each class. Math is obviously going to have more actual problems than an language class is going to have. If your teacher doesn't give you practice problems or a sample test, create your own! Creating your own challenges you even further than simply completing a given sample test, but either is going to help you prepare a ton for the test.

5. Figure out where you messed up
Look at old tests, quizzes, essays, and projects and make note of where you went wrong. Was it a tense, or a formula, or a specific concept? Did you make that mistake multiple times or was it just a slip up that one time where you weren't thinking. Go over those problems and make sure you can do them now!

There you go! Now you're all set. This goes for finals, midterms, and really any other major tests you have in a class. Remember to do the obvious things like getting good sleep, (pulling an all nighter is not going to help. Sleeping is.) eating meals, staying hydrated, and emailing your friends and teachers if you have any questions you're stuck on. Happy studying!

1 comment:

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