The Best Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Final Exam

Your final exam is the big one, and it will determine whether you pass or fail your course. If your final exam is approaching soon, you probably need to get started on reviewing right away.

Think of your final exam as a checkpoint — not an endpoint. It’s the last chance to prove that you know the material well enough to apply it in new and different situations. In other words, don’t panic! Preparing for your final exam doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. These tips can help you achieve a successful result in your final exam.

Create a study schedule

A study schedule may seem like an unnecessary or overly organized way to go about preparing for a final exam. But it can actually be a helpful way to stay on track with your studying — especially if you’re a more spontaneous or last-minute type of learner.

A study schedule doesn’t have to be super detailed or complicated. It can be a simple checklist of the things you need to do to prepare for your final exam, including the amount of time you should spend studying each course area, reviewing your course notes, and making flashcards.

Practice your test-taking skills

Your final exam will likely include questions designed to test your ability to apply what you’ve learned in your course. To simulate a real-life test-taking experience, try to create an exam-like environment and take practice exams. This will help you identify areas of weakness and help you prepare for the types of questions you’ll encounter in your final exam.

If you have a computer or laptop with a printer, you can create simulated exam papers on your computer. You can also type out or write out your own questions on paper, with the correct answers beside each question. You can also take practice exams online. Many online test websites offer free services that let you create and take practice exams under simulated exam conditions.

These kinds of resources are especially helpful if you struggle with test-taking anxiety or feel like you’re not sure how to approach taking an exam.

Drill with flashcards

If your course focused on specific facts or concepts, you may have created a “cards” or “notes” section in a notebook or binder for each one. If that’s the case, you may have a good sense of how much time you’ll need to review these cards before your final exam.

If you didn’t create cards or notes from your course materials, or if you want to double-check that you remembered everything correctly, consider creating flashcards. If you go the flashcards route, you may want to organize your flashcards into different categories based on the subject matter of your course. This will help you stay focused and keep track of your progress as you review.

Review the course material

Many students make the mistake of only studying the specific questions they think will be included in the final exam. This is a big mistake that can lead to serious disaster. Most students will be asked to apply the concepts they’ve learned in their course, and they may also be asked to interpret, compare and/or contrast different concepts.

You don’t want to be caught off guard by questions like these on your final exam. It’s important to review the material as a whole and ensure that you’re able to apply it in new and different ways.

Don’t forget about summarising and note-taking

While you’ll want to focus on reviewing the course material as a whole, you’ll also want to make sure you have a good grasp on the finer details that you learned in your course. This can help you apply what you’ve learned in new and different ways.

To help you with this, review and summarise notes or key points from your course materials as you study. Many students find that they’re able to approach this process more easily if they use visual aids like mind maps, diagrams, and/or concept maps.

If you didn’t take notes while you were in class, now is the time to start. Good note-taking will help you better understand what you learned in your course and make it easier to review the material.

Ask for help from your Instructor or tutor

If you’re struggling with your final exam, it’s important to ask for help. If you have a tutor or Instructor for your course, consider approaching them and asking for their advice. They may have insights into the exam that you don’t have access to, and/or be able to offer suggestions on how to approach the exam.

If you don’t have a tutor or Instructor, it’s okay to ask your classmates or other students in your course for help. You may be surprised by how willing they are to help you.


Your final exam will determine whether you pass or fail your course, so it’s important to prepare for it as well as possible. Ideally, you should be starting to prepare for your final exam as soon as the exam date is announced.

To succeed on your final exam, create a study schedule, practice your test-taking skills, drill with flashcards, review the course material, and don’t forget about summarising and note-taking.

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