Today we have a guest post from University of Colorado (CU) student, Brad Revare.
Brad graduated from CU with a Bachelor in Economics and currently is a 2nd year graduate student at the CU law school. Brad is working his way through school as a college tutor giving him special insight as he shares his three best tips to help students do well on final exams. (Brad shared his best tips for finding the right tutor here.)
Regardless of whether your son or daughter took final exams in high school, college finals are a different beast. They often make up 50% of the total grade. Blow off a final and there goes all the semester’s time and effort.
Over my years in college and in working with students I tutor, I’ve learned that the key to doing well on final exams is to study correctly. Here are three essential tips your student can use on his/her own to ace finals this semester.
- Start studying for finals early. Students can’t cram a semester into a few days of study. I suggest taking the date of the final exam, counting backwards 2-3 weeks and starting then. Try to spend 30-45 minutes a day covering a unit or week’s worth of class. Save the last few days for a total review.
- Test knowledge in an objective manner. A common study strategy, especially for freshmen, is to re-read their notes and the textbook. In my experience this DOES NOT work. Studying involves quizzing yourself, making flashcards, or taking practice exams (many professors have them on file.) This quickly tells a student if they know the material or not and allows the student to focus their study attention on what they don’t know. In my experience this is one of the most accurate method for predicting final grades. One student I worked with used flashcards to test how well he knew terms for his sociology final. The day before the test, he had 96% mastery of the flashcards. His final exam grade? 96%.
- Get help immediately on concepts/topics/problems a student doesn’t understand. Too many students wait until the night before an exam to get help. At this point it is usually too late. Encourage your student to ask classmates, their professor, or hire a tutor to clear up the confusion right away. I highly encourage students to ask their professors for help well ahead of time. It allows students to get to know their professors AND an added bonus is often students receive hints about the exam from that one-on-one interaction.