How to study: tips and tricks for a successful finals week

Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian Going over old tests and highlighting notes are good ways to prepare for final exams.

When it comes to studying for finals week, there’s no tactic too far-fetched. From mnemonic devices to last-minute cramming, many K-State students have perfected their methods to ensure finals week success.

When it comes to preparing for final exams, the first step is to create a proper studying environment. For Sarah Stoulil, senior in applied music, that proper environment is “tranquil.”

“I’m definitely a person who has to be in a quiet place with the least amount of distractions as possible,” Stoulil said. “I don’t listen to music, and I don’t have people around me. I just seclude myself and study.”

Blake Ronnebaum, sophomore in chemical engineering, is similar to Stoulil in that he said he prefers areas with few people around. However, he occasionally enlists the aide of tunes to help with his studying endeavors.

“I like to put my headphones in and listen to classical music or jazz,” Ronnebaum said. “It really helps me tune out the world and focus on the problems at hand.”

Ronnebaum also suggested using more than just the week in advance to gather studying materials.

“Save everything,” he said. “Notes, graded homework assignments, graded tests, practice tests – everything. Literally anything related to the course you should save. The graded things help you the most because you can see exactly where you need to make improvements.”

When it comes to studying techniques, Jordan Marquess, senior in biology, said variety is key.

“I study with notes, but I also use the text book for clarification,” Marquess said. “I use flash cards, and I also use white boards so I can write things out repetitively. That writing out process really helps me remember.”

Marquess added it’s important not to just memorize your study guide.

“Being able to absorb what the material means instead of just what’s written on the teacher’s slides really helps,” she said. “Understand how you best absorb information. Knowing if you like to learn visually or if you need to hear it is really important.”

Allowing yourself ample time to completely comprehend the material is important as well. Stoulil said she uses a method which requires a minimum of four days to ensure she knows it inside and out.

“I take notes from whatever text I have before we go over it in class,” Stoulil said. “I also take notes in class, but use a different color of pen to differentiate what was spoken in class versus what was said in the book. Then, I type them up, so at that point I’ve gone through them twice. After I’ve printed them, I cross off the things I know I don’t need to study again, and I go through and highlight the things I know I’m going to need to look over again. So the day of the test, I can just go through the highlighted stuff.”

Stoulil said time management is key when it comes to studying, especially when students have multiple tests on the same day. She recommends mapping out finals week in its entirety, then backing up each test with at least four days of studying. However, this extends to six or seven days if two or more exams scheduled for the same date.

No matter how hectic finals week is, utilizing these tips and tricks can help anyone manage their way through one last set of exams to finish out the semester.