Okay City College students, the most dreaded time of the year is here. Most CCNY students soon will be seated in front of an exam that can either make or break your GPA. In preparation for the big day, some test takers shared secret tips that have helped them ace their finals in the past.
- Identify Your Exam. Here’s the first question you will need to answer: Will your test be an Essay Exam, Multiple Choice Exams, Open-book or Take-home exam, Problem or Case-based exams, or an Oral exam? Knowing the type of exam your professor will give you will help determine how much time you should dedicate to studying. It will also tell you how you should begin to prepare for your exam. There are different approaches for each exam here.
- Schedule Your Time. First, grab your calendar. Then, decide what needs to be done, reviewed or learned, and write out a clear list for each final you will take. Next, section off your list into Difficult, Moderate, and Easy. In the time frame from now until your final, give yourself enough time to understand the harder concepts by penciling them in earlier. Save the easier material for the days closer to the final. The day before your exam should be a review day for all the material!
- Review Old Exams. Past exams that you have taken this semester are the key to reviewing the material you covered earlier in the semester. “It can help jog your memory to key points that your professor focused on,” said Salma Asous, a CCNY Senior. If you’re able to review your old tests, try covering the answers and retaking the test. The questions you get wrong are topics that you should go over before your final!
- Master New Material. Cumulative exams are more than likely to focus heavily on the newer topics that haven’t been tested. The key to doing well is to know the new material to the best of your ability.
- Flash Cards for Terms. Some classes are based on pure memorization of vocabulary. Create flash cards for definitions, facts and major concepts. In preparation for your test you’ll have no time to waste, so always use it wisely. Review them every chance you get: during your commute or on line waiting for coffee.
- Study to Your Attention Span. Some students can focus for 5 hours while others can only study for 30 minuets. Regardless of how long you can study, take your attention span and divide it by 5. Whatever answer you get is considered your break time. For someone who’s attention span is 30 minuets, they will study for 30 minuets, take a break for 6 minuets and repeat. “It’s so easy to lose focus,” said Chrissy Cherefant, 20, “Once you lose it, it’s hard to get back, which is why I follow this tactic.”
- Ditch the Phone. When you’re in study mode, put your phone on airplane mode. Distractions won’t help you pass your finals. For mac users who venture off on to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or shopping sites, there’s an app for that. “SelfControl” for Mac keeps all your distractions to a minimum by blocking you from all of your favorite sites your the selected amount of time you request. Add all your go to sites to a blacklist, set the time, and stay focused!
Fortunately, finals time only comes around twice each year. As the semester draws to a close, remember to stay focused–you’re at the end. Good luck everyone!