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Finals: Don’t Cram, Make a Plan!

It is common to feel overwhelmed when final exams are approaching. The best approach is to gather yourself and then formulate a plan of attack. Spending just a half hour creating a study framework for your final is time well spent.

Step 1) Open a word doc or a paper notebook and get ready to make some important notes.

Step 2) Figure out exactly what material or chapters the final is going to cover. Some finals cover the entire semester, while others cover only the midterm forward.

Step 3) Label the material in to three categories: what you know, what you’re not sure you know, and what you definitely don’t know.

Step 4) Schedule at least 2 private tutoring sessions, possibly more, to help you with the material you do not understand and to clarify concepts that are iffy.

Step 5) Make a “cheat sheet” for the exam. Boil down all concepts, definitions, theorems and so on from the material into the most basic elements. Put this information on just one page. In doing so, you will be memorizing the most important ideas in condensed chunks. Ideally, you would start such a “cheat sheet” at the beginning of the semester.

Once you have your framework/plan for success, you should be feeling less anxious and more confident. It goes without saying, you should create this plan several weeks ahead of time. Do not try to cram at the last minute as this approach generally does not work. When learning we need our memory to be working properly. Cramming means you are likely staying up way past your bedtime, eating poorly, and subjecting your mind and body to a lot of extra stress. The mind cannot succeed under these conditions, no matter how hard you may try at the last minute.

Make tutoring part of your final exam study plan: reserve your private session today! Click on the Schedule tab and select the date and time of your preference.

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