Why to prepare for finals earlier rather than later

If you’re like us, it’s hard to believe that it’s already November and it’s even harder to believe that final exams are six full weeks away. Cue the panic, but it doesn’t have to be as stressful as it might seem if you start preparing earlier rather than later.

Preparing for and taking finals is stressful regardless of how early you start preparing, but in order to eliminate unnecessary stress, set mini goals for each week and chip away a little at a time whether it’s a topic, a chapter in the book or parts of a final paper.

It also helps to start paying extra close attention to your professor in class and their e-mails. Some professors start giving extra credit around this time and who doesn’t want extra credit? Don’t take extra credit for granted.

Professors also start talking more about the final exam, projects and papers at this time so take notes when they give you information about them and start making a plan for how you’re going to tackle the assignment.

A method that works for some on our staff is to take notes of  important terms and ideas and then take notes in class. For the chapter or topic test, synthesize reading notes and class notes into one study guide. At the end of the semester, copy and paste all of my chapter study guides into one Google Doc and study from that.

The above method works by helping you decide what information is important, and what isn’t saving you time in what to study. Make categories that are different from what the professor or textbook gives you and find connections and comparisons for all the ideas you have learned throughout the semester.

The Echo staff also finds using notecards useful for learning topics, words, people, events or court cases and the notecards are easy to carry around and study from in little breaks.

Another tip is to look at when all of your exams are, dates and times, and start thinking about when to begin preparing for each especially if you have more than one exam on the same days or days close together.

Don’t panic and be confident in what you’ve mastered and learned throughout the semester. Your brain is an amazing machine and retains so, so much information.

Most importantly, do the best you can. You are a human and not perfect, so don’t let one less than perfect grade define you or get you down.

Sarah-Grace Battles

Sarah-Grace Battles


Sarah-Grace is a Communication major with a double minor in Political Science and Women’s Studies. She hopes to attend law school after she graduates. When she’s not cheering for Alabama football, she loves to read, be outdoors, try new restaurants and be with her family and friends.

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