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Finals Study Tips

Study tips and free resources to take the stress and pain out of studying for final exams

May 08, 2018

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The pressure to ace your final exams or just survive study week can drive any sane student to tears whether you’re a straight-A student or you’re struggling to pass. We have compiled some study tips and free study resources to help you be better prepared and stress less when test time rolls along. 

Although you’ve been learning the material all year long, somehow when the end of the year comes along, students freak out when a final exam date shows up on the calendar. Have no fear, Kidzworld is here! We can help you take the stress out of studying by helping you be more prepared and less freaked out for your final exams with these completely free resources anyone can use.

How Studying Works

Every adult tells you the same thing: don’t wait until the last minute to start studying for final exams. What you don’t realize is that you’ve kind of been “studying” for the final exam all year long. You’ve been going to class, learning from the teacher, reading the materials, and practicing what you’ve learned in homework and classwork. Studying for a final exam is just a question of synthesis — figuring out how it all fits together — and recall — remembering what you’ve learned and placing it in the right context.

To study properly, memorizing usually isn’t enough. You need to be able to understand the ideas behind what you’re studying, whether you’re studying history and need to know the historical context, or math problems and you need to know the practical application, or science formulas where you need to know what your calculations refer to.

Whatever you’re studying, get the big picture first. Read the introductions and summaries of all the chapters that are being covered in the test.
Take a full-body approach to studying:

  • Speak: study out loud by talking to yourself, studying with a friend, teaching the subject to your parents or goldfish, or singing a song about it.
  • Listen: watch video lectures like the ones on Khan Academy or find YouTube videos that cover the topics you’re studying. If you’re studying literature, see if your library has a downloadable audiobook that you can listen to while you’re walking the dog or cleaning your room.
  • Write: rewrite your notes as notecards or color-coded study guides.
  • Read: Read the textbook and look at the captions under the images in the book to tie facts to visual memories.

Experts say that with each method of studying you use, you engage a different part of your brain and are better able to commit the subject to memory and understand it better.

 

Start off on the right foot

Before you start studying, take a step back and make a list of what tests you need to study for, how much time you have before each test, and what each test will be on. It helps to have a white board or giant calendar where you can view everything at a glance.

Free study tools

Get your study materials in order. If, despite all your plans at the beginning of the year to be incredibly organized, your binder looks like it has been dropped from a tall building and then smushed into a crumpled pile, take comfort in knowing that a: you’re not alone, and b: there is hope! Going through the jumbled mess can actually help you start studying. Take everything out of your binder and folder and organize all of your notes, tests, practice tests, and homework assignments into piles by chapter, subchapter, or topic. On a separate sheet of paper, note if anything is missing. Ask a friend or your teacher or search online to fill in the blanks and make sure you have everything you need before you begin studying.

  1. Do the review sheets. Review sheets are like legal cheat sheet for studying. Your teacher is literally telling you what might be on the test in these sheets. Do them alone or with a friend. Ask your teacher about any question you’re not sure about. Then, make note cards on the material in the review sheets with questions on one side and answers on the other.
  2. No review sheets? No problem. Check the class curriculum. At the beginning of the year, many teachers hand out a list of what you’ll be learning throughout the year. They usually build the final exam based on the curriculum. If not, go through your notes and list out the topics or chapters you covered throughout the year. It helps to have a buddy or two do this with you so you can cover more notes in less time.
  3. Find an online study set. Search for student- and teacher-created study sets on sites like quizlet.com and kahoot.com or create your own from notecards.
  4. Create a profile on Khan Academy. Ideally, this is something you can even do at the beginning of the year. Select your classes and then drill down to the topics you need to study for practice questions and lessons. Khan Academy offers practice questions, video lessons, and personalized learning tools that help you study at your own pace.
  5. Visit other websites to amp up your practice before test day. sumdog.com offers free math practice for grades K-5. freerice.com is a way to heal the world while studying for exams. Pick a subject and answer the questions. For each right answer, Freerice will donate ten grains of rice through the World Food Programme to help end hunger. Visit their Category page to see if the class you’re studying for is on their list.

Take productive study breaks

For every 40 minutes you study, take a ten-minute break, stand up and stretch, get some fresh air, and grab a glass of water. If you’ve been writing or typing or you’ve been hunched over the computer, do some stretching exercises to wake up your brain and your muscles.
Brain food for study snacks

  • Guacamole and tortilla chips
  • Yogurt with berries
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Nuts and raisins
  • A cup of soup
  • Green tea
  • A smoothie
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Carrots with hummus
  • Edamame
  • Dark chocolate
  • Popcorn

 

Have Your Say

Do you have exams coming up? Are you nervous or are you prepared? Share your story in the comments below and let us know how you’re gearing up for finals week in your corner of the world.