Final Exam Resources
Some tips and tricks to make sure you're at your best when taking your final exams!
Studying before the big test:
ASK FOR HELP! The community at UCR is here to help you learn. If you have a question, please ask it! Also, online academic assistance remains available from the Academic Resource Center!
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO STUDY. Don't leave your studying for the last minute. Make a study schedule that fits your style of learning and stick with it!
MAKE VISUAL AIDS. Create flow charts and diagrams that help you learn your notes in a visual way. Visual remembrance can aid your exam readiness.
LOSE THE PHONE. Unless you need it for class, lose your cell phone. Make your study time and space be phone free to avoid distractions. You will work better and faster.
PRACTICE ON OLD EXAMS. Old tests will help you with the format and formulation of the questions and will let you know what to expect. They also help you measure the amount of time you'll need in your actual exam.
VISUALIZE YOUR SUCCESS. Peak athletes use visualization techniques to enhance their success. Find a free app to help with your visualization and meditation for rocking your exams. Meditation has the added benefits of helping you focus, decreasing your stress, and helping you sleep.
STUDY WITH FRIENDS. Study groups (using Zoom or Google Hangouts) can help you find the answers you need. They also allow you to test your knowledge in a safe environment with immediate feedback, letting you know which areas you need to focus on. Limit study groups to only four or five people for the most productive study sessions and assign tasks to each group member.
GET COMFORTABLE. Make sure your study and course space is comfortable. You will spend plenty of time in class, watching videos, and working on coursework. Take care of yourself.
STUDY BEFORE BED, OR BEFORE EXERCISING. Being able to put down your materials and focus on something else - sleeping, a run, or a short walk - helps you make connections you might have missed when you get stuck on one theory or concept.
PLAN THE DAY OF YOUR EXAMS. Read through your professor's instructions for the exam several times to make sure you understand what will be expected of you.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Staying hydrated is vital to your studying and helps with your overall positive mood.
SCHEDULE IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT. A consistent study schedule helps you, and others around you, know when you are available and when you need to spend time on live classes or on coursework.
TEACH SOMEONE ELSE. Find someone else (friend, study group, or family members) that you can teach your topic to. Teaching someone else forces you to remember and understand concepts more clearly.
GET YOUR ZZZZSSSSS. It's tempting to pull an all-night study session the night before an exam, but this can backfire on you as sleep helps the mind absorb and retain any information you reviewed while studying. Start studying early enough so that you have time to schedule in some breaks.
REACH OUT TO YOUR PROFESSOR. By studying early, this allows you time to reach out to your professor with help on problems or concepts that you don't feel you have mastered. If you try to email your professor the night before the big exam, chances are you won't hear back from them.
EAT HEALTHY SNACKS. It's tempting to drink a ton of energy drinks and eat quick and easy junk food, but that can backfire, leaving you worse than you were. Healthy snacks that are good for you, help improve your concentration and memory.
CHANGE OUT OF YOUR PJ'S. Get up and get ready for your exam as if you were heading into campus. Wearing something other than your pj's will make you feel ready to take on the tasks you need to accomplish.
SPACE MATTERS. The space you choose for studying matters. If you can, find a quiet spot, with few distractions that can be dedicated to your studies.
PLAN YOUR LUNCHES IN ADVANCE. Don't forget to eat your regular meals. Save study time by having prepared some healthy lunches in advance.
BREAKS ARE GOOD. Chunking your study time, or working in small segments (ex: 25 minutes) and taking short breaks (ex: 5 min) helps with memory retention and reduces anxiety.
LIBRARIES ARE COOL. Librarians are great at using digital resources. Ask a Librarian, and you might find there is a lot more to the Library than being a great place to study!
CHECK YOUR TECH. Make sure your computer has the correct software that is appropriate for your exams. Test your internet connections ahead of time to avoid last-minute problems.
STAY MOTIVATED AND STUDY HARD! Remember why you are doing this and keep on track!
It's the Big Day. You got this!
DETERMINE WHEN TO TAKE YOUR EXAMS. If your exam is open to you for a few hours or days, make sure to choose a time where you will have the least amount of distractions. DON'T wait until the last minute. If you have technical problems, this could eat into your exam time.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Before you begin your exam, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax.
TECHNICAL PROBLEMS? DON'T PANIC. Notify your instructor as soon as you can, provide a detailed description of the problems you are having, and provide a screenshot if you can.
CHECK YOUR WORK. Before you hit the submit button, take a moment to briefly review your answers. Make sure you answered questions completely and check for spelling and grammatical errors.
GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS. Close all other programs, games, email, and turn your phone off. Focus on the task at hand, and reward yourself when you are finished with something that relaxes you.
KEEP TRACK OF TIME. Set an alarm to warn you 10 minutes before the end of your exam. If you get stuck on a question, come back to it at the end if you still have time.