Tips for Acing Finals while Social Distancing

May 4, 2020

This semester has presented us all with an unprecedented turn of events, leaving students around the world to finish their classes outside of the traditional classroom setting. While finals this year will likely be accompanied by new challenges, that doesn’t mean they should be feared! Follow the steps below to ace your upcoming final exams with confidence.

1. Review existing materials.

Leading up to finals, take some time to review materials from throughout the semester. Start with any notes you collected during class time, and supplement that information with textbook readings and/or recorded lectures. Review the information in a way that is not overwhelming, taking time to really understand and think through the material. Aim for comprehension, and be patient with yourself. If you happen to find any material particularly difficult to understand, it’s a good idea to take note of it and reach out to your professor for additional clarification. As time progresses, it may also help to summarize the most important information onto a single document so that you can center your focus.

2. Discover new ways to study.

Using your study materials, work to find the best methods for full comprehension. While the vast majority of finals will be completed remotely, alter past methods to fit this new and unique format. If you are used to reviewing handwritten notes before test time, try typing out the most imperative information to study your digital device. On the other hand, if you usually type out your notes, consider making flashcards or flowcharts to better understand the material. If your professor provided a study guide to help you prepare for the final, try to fill in the study guide in a clear and concise way, ensuring that you are familiar with all of the terms presented.

3. Communicate with your professors.

This is a difficult time for many, and being open and communicative with your professors will allow them to best help you. If you are struggling to meet deadlines or memorize test material, don’t be afraid to send them an email briefly explaining any issues. Not only will this give them the chance to provide clarification, but it will also allow them to recommend additional resources so that you can best complete the course. Additionally, some professors offer virtual office hours via phone call or video call, allowing for a more open conversation. Take advantage of these opportunities by reaching out. Remember, your professors want to help you, but in order to do so, they need to know what you are dealing with.

4. Utilize your resources.

Outside of your professors, there are many other resources available for finals preparation and study aid. Websites like Quizlet allow users to create digital flashcard sets that can be used in memory games to ensure comprehension, while other sites like CourseHero provide sample problems and solutions from students in similar courses. Additionally, video chat applications like Skype and Zoom are perfect for hosting study group calls while social distancing. If you do decide to form a study group, creating a shared file on GoogleDrive will allow your group to collaborate on the same documents, a great way to comprehend the material. There are so many resources out there, so don’t be afraid to do some searching to find the best applications for you.

5. Remember, you are not alone!

It’s normal to feel frustrated during this complicated time, but it’s important to recognize that millions of other students are going through the very same thing. No matter how isolated you may feel, remember that you are not alone! Your professors, peers, friends and family all want to help you succeed, and are likely more than willing to do their part to ensure that the semester ends on a positive note. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talking to a trusted friend or family member is a great way to relieve stress and evaluate the best plan of action for conquering finals. No matter what, have confidence in yourself, and know that you are doing your very best.

You’ve got this!


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