Exam Tips: How to Study for Finals – College Info Geek

Exam Tips: How to Study for Finals – College Info Geek

August 31, 2019 100 By Ronny Jaskolski


Hey what’s up everybody, it’s Thomas Frank
and it’s almost finals week. This being a channel where I teach you how to study better
I figured I should probably make a video on finals. I want to make it short, I want to
make to the point and I want to help you both study more efficiently for finals and also
reduce some of the stress that comes along with finals week.
To that end I have five tips that can help you do both of those things. The first one
is to no the difference between your planning mode and your doing mode, or as I like to
call it, the robot mode. The word robot is actually an adaptation of the Czech word robotnik
which translates to worker or slave. The thing about workers and slaves is they do things,
they don’t plan things. As a student you got to do both of them but you should do them
at different times and you should plan before you do.
When it comes to finals you want to figure out how many days you have until your first
exam and your last exam, how much time you actually have to study and what all you need
to study during that time. Then you can make a detailed plan for what you’re going to study
in order based on priorities, based on context and mental intensity that you can put toward
your studying and anything else that’s pertinent. You also want to break individual study projects
into actionable steps. Something like “study calculus” isn’t really actionable, it doesn’t
really tell you what to do next so break that down to something more actionable, something
like get out all of your material, review the chapter on L’H�pital’s Rule or something
like that, go through a practice problem set. Just make sure your list of tasks includes
things that you can sit down and definitively achieve.
Once you actually have that plan set in stone for studying, it’s time to go from planning
mode and switch over to robot mode. Actually on the College Info Geek blog I’ve written
an article this week all about robot mode and planning mode and gave specific examples
of things you can do to make this a more efficient process. At the end of this video I’ll put
up a link to that blog post where you can go read it but first we have a few more tips
to go over. Tip number two is to know the format of your
exams and them tailor those study efforts to match those assessments. For example if
one of your finals is going to be a multiple choice test then you want to make sure you
have a solid understanding of the facts in that class and a good way to do that would
to maybe build a deck of cards in Anki and do space repetition studying or create your
own study guide that asks specific questions and then you have to answer them later. If
the final’s going to be based around essays then you want to know the main ideas of what
you’re studying and then force yourself to write those down in your own words. Get practice
beforehand so when you actually go into the test it’s easier to do.
My third tip is to base your studying efforts around active recall. This means actually
digging into your brain and forcing yourself to bring forth information that you’ve learned
before. The opposite of this is passive review, simply reading a book and looking over your
notes and exposing yourself to information and it doesn’t work as well as active recall.
In 1885 a German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus came up with a theory he called
the forgetting curve. It was his attempt to explain how memories degrade exponentially
over time. Ebbinghaus’s theory is that the strength of your memories is subject to a
lot of different factors and the frequency of active recall is one of them. If you just
listen to me tell you about this guy, you’re probably not going to remember him very much
later on but if you actually try to answer this question for yourself, what did Ebbinghaus
do this research, and you pause the video and you actually do it, you’re probably going
to remember it later on. My fourth tip is to review old material while
you’re studying. There’s a site called koofers.com where you can actually look up old tests and
exam questions for your classes and you may actually be able to find something very similar
to what’s going to be on your final exams. If you can’t find it on koofers, you can also
look at fraternity test banks, professional organizations and other student organizations
on campus. My fifth and final tip has to do with your
stress and it’s this: anticipate your failures in advance. What I mean by this is that you
probably are going to procrastinate, you’re probably going to lose willpower at some point
during your studying and the most successful students recognize this and plan ahead for
it. The way you can take advantage of this and plan ahead is to set breaks in the future
that you’re going to take. Maybe after 50 minutes of studying, you’re going to let yourself
go on Facebook or you’re going to let yourself play a video game for a while.
But the key here is that you plan for this in advance. You plan for dealing with the
pain point before it actually happened. When you do this, you’re more likely to be able
to move past that pain point and get back to studying.
That’s it for this video but I do have a couple other resources you can check out if you’re
still looking for some more tips. The first one is my Mutant Guide to Studying for Finals,
which I wrote over on the College Info Geek blog a couple of years ago and you can find
that by clicking right there. Also the article I mentioned earlier about planning mode versus
robot mode, you can find by clicking right there. Hopefully you found these tips to be
helpful. There are definitely going to be a lot more coming in the future as I’m trying
to make this channel the ultimate resource for studying in college so definitely hit
the subscribe button below if you want to get those tips every single week. Otherwise,
good luck on your finals, use these tips to study more efficiently and please manage your
stress, take breaks and make sure that you’re staying sane.
Hey everybody, thank you so much for watching my video on acing your finals. If you found
it helpful you can support this channel giving the video a like on YouTube or sharing it
with a friend and also if you want to get new videos on studying better coming out every
single week on Thursdays just hit that subscribe button that you can find right there. If you
happened to miss last week’s video it’s over active reading strategies, and you can find
it by clicking the moving picture below there. If you want to find any resources that I talked
about in this video and extra links, they’re all listed at the companion blog post which
you can find by clicking the orange button right there.
Also I have a little bit of an announcement to make. I’m actually writing a book called
Ten Steps to Earning Awesome Grades While Studying less and it’s going to be absolutely
free so if you want to get that book it’s coming out right as the new semester starts
in January. Click the picture of the book right there, you can sign up for the email
list or the College Info Geek blog and you will get that book for free when it comes
out in a few weeks. I’m very excited to release it to you so definitely check it out. Also
if you want to suggest any video topics or anything else of this sort, follow me on Twitter
@TomFrankly or leave a comment on this video and I will get back to you. Thanks!