8 Tips For Success As You Begin Preparing For Finals Season

By: Sara Lawrence 

Even though midterms don’t seem too long ago, finals are right around the corner! Everyone can agree this semester has been a tough adjustment. Exams have been all over the place, we got used to virtual exams during the pandemic and while some remain virtual, many are now in-person again. It is very stressful jumping back into classes, exams and especially our first finals season since thing’s have been somewhat back to normal. Here are some tips & tricks to help you ace those exams and stay sane!!

1. Start by setting out a detailed study plan to stay organized

I cannot stress how important it is to be organized. As soon as you know the dates for your finals, which you can probably find in the syllabus, you should take note of them on your calendar. I prefer a physical planner, because I believe it is helpful to physically write things down, but Google Calendar, and digital agendas work just as well. As long as you write down dates and deadlines somewhere in an organized fashion, it will keep you organized and prepared for each test and assignment during this stressful time.

2. Begin studying early

Do not procrastinate. I can say this coming from personal experience as an expert procrastinator. Regardless of those of you who claim that you “work well under pressure,” I promise you will perform better when you are adequately prepared in advance. Start sprinkling in study and review time a couple weeks before the date your final actually is, so you are not forced to pull an all-nighter with Jittery Joe’s coffee at the MLC the night before your big exam.

3. Take advantage of Office Hours and TAs

Believe it or not, most of the time your professors actually want to help you! Nobody wants their students to fail their tests. Professors at UGA are passionate about what they teach and will be glad to answer your questions or refer you to their Teaching Assistant. Teaching Assistants are often useful in big classes to get one-on-one help, as their job is to take on some of the responsibilities of the professor. Office hours are also designated for student help, so utilize those while you can.

4. Form study groups

Studying with other people in your classes is very beneficial. First of all, you are kept accountable by the others to study at designated times. In addition, you can learn from each other’s knowledge; if one student does not understand a topic, perhaps another is an expert on it and can explain it to them. Study groups also serve as a support system to cling to, and probably vent to about the overload of work, in the very stressful finals season. It’s also fun to make different friends in each of your classes outside of your traditional friend group.

The Miller Learning Center is many UGA students’ favorite study space, including a Jittery Joe’s coffee shop and many quiet study rooms. What is your favorite study spot on campus?

5. Find a good study spot

Everybody likes to study in different areas. Some people like to be in a coffee shop, surrounded by others, and don’t mind the chatting of students as they study. Others, including me, have to be locked away in a Main Library study room to focus or else I will constantly get distracted. It’s all about finding what environment you study best in and using it frequently. UGA has so many study spots including the MLC, Tate Student Center, the Main Library, the SLC, outside areas and much more, so find one that works best for you!

6. Test yourself

Sure, reading notes and your textbook will come in handy, but a real way to measure what you already know and what you need to work on is by testing yourself. Create a practice exam using your notes, textbook and other resources to make the questions and then answer them without any of these resources. Once you grade yourself, you will know what you got wrong and need to study more in order to do well on the actual exam. 

7. Reward yourself for studying

Motivation is key. Studying for finals can be brutal, but you can make it less of a pain and prevent procrastination if you reward yourself every day you study. Whether you pick up Chick-fil-A on your way out of Tate after reading a couple chapters or binge your favorite Netflix show after making a killer Quizlet, knowing you will get a reward for working hard will motivate you to do it more often. 

8. Take care of your mental health

Last, but certainly not least, grades are not everything. As UGA students, academics are amazing but also do not define us. Don’t overload yourself every day if it’s gonna make you exhausted and sick. The finals you are studying for will not determine your life 10 years from now. It will all be okay, so try not to stress too much, study, do your best and that’s all you can do! UGA also has great mental health resources available to students so don’t be afraid to check these out and get help if you need it. 

Good luck on finals from PRSSA! We know you will do great! 

Tune into our next meeting with Grady alum Dana Todd, CEO of global fashion marketplace, Balodana, next Tuesday Nov. 16 @6:30 via Zoom. Todd has years of experience in both digital and traditional marketing. This meeting will be beneficial for students interested in the fashion industry, digital marketing strategies and entrepreneurship. We can’t wait to hear from such an amazing speaker and hope to see you there!