Professors’ survival guide for final exam success


It’s December and the semester is just about over. Standing between you and your winter vacation are the dreaded final exams. The exams that determine whether you go home happy or instead, are constantly wondering how you did.

Follow these professors’ tips for acing your final exams to ensure that you go home this winter break full of holiday joy.

1. Cancel out any distractions

Julia Keen, associate professor of architectural engineering and construction science, said she suggests truly focusing and canceling out other distractions while you study for your final exams.

“Eliminate all distractions when studying – including electronics such as a cellphone,” Keen said. “You need to be focused for effective retention.”

2. Do not wait until the last minute to study

“Avoid cramming a large quantity of material in a short period of time,” Albert Hamscher, professor of history, said. “Working in segments reduces panic and gives one control of the situation.”

According to, the finals rule of thumb is to study for 40-50 minutes and then take a 10-15 minute break.

3. Study in pairs or groups if it makes sense

Many students believe that a study group always affords an advantage: more brainpower plus peer pressure to crack the books. This works well when your study buddies are at least as smart as you, according to

It is especially good to talk with someone about what you are studying – saying it helps, as does writing it,” Bruce Glymour, head of the philosophy department, said.

4. Use all of your resources

According to, it is important to be sure that in preparing for finals, you’ve considered all the materials of the course: your lecture notes and section discussions, the readings, any handouts, the homework, quizzes and previous tests. The learning outcomes provided on your course syllabus many times can serve as a study guide, according to Keen.

“These learning outcomes tell you what the professor thinks is most important about your class and what they hoped you would learn by the end of the semester,” Keen said. “If this is what they think is important, I would also expect this is what they are trying to confirm you learned – excellent content for the final exam.”

In order to perform the very best on final exams, It’s important to pay attention to your mental and physical health. Remember to stay active, get plenty of rest and eat a good breakfast. In addition to that, one must find time to escape studying and take some time to de-stress, according to Huffington Post.

Final exams do not mean panic time. Follow these tips from professors to help survive finals week and you will be surprised to find that you remember a lot more than you think.