How to Make a Final Exam Study Schedule – College Info Geek

How to Make a Final Exam Study Schedule – College Info Geek

August 25, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


Hey. What’s up, guys? So finals are upon us. I know some of you guys
have already started finals, some of you guys have
them coming very soon, and for that reason I’m
releasing this video early this week so
hopefully it can help you in creating a study schedule. And what I want to do
specifically in this video is actually give you a look at
one of the schedules I built for my final exams as a student. But before that, I’ve got some
general tips and principles that you can use to build
your study schedule, so hopefully you can
front-load all of the work and plan effectively, and
that will help you study in the most efficient
way possible through the weeks
leading up to finals and through the
actual finals week. Now, I think there are
some guiding principles that you should keep in mind when you’re building
your study schedule. These will help you make it
as effective as possible, and, number one, you
want to minimize the time that you spend procrastinating
and maximize the time you spend studying effectively. You also want to study the
most important material in the right order, and,
lastly, you want to manage your energy and stress levels. So with those guiding
principles in mind, the first step to building
your study schedule is to figure out
when your finals are, and I have to mention this
because I remember my school did not have final exams
during the actual class periods that I went to. Instead, they had this
convoluted formula,
algorithm thing where you had to go on
the website and figure out the first time of the week
when your first class met, and that would correlate
to some other exam date probably in the evening when
you want to be eating dinner. And I can only assume
they put a bunch of dice into a Yahtzee jar and that’s
how they figured it out. Once you know those exam
dates and you’re sure you’re not gonna be showing
up to an empty classroom an hour after the exam ends,
which, by the way, pro-tip, is the easiest way
to fail an exam, then what you want to do is
arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible to help
you build that study schedule. I’m talking the
format of your exams, multiple choice, true/false,
essay style, what have you, the material that
it’s going to cover. Is it comprehensive, or
is it only gonna cover what you had since
the last exam? And how much of your grade this
exam is going to count for. You also want to keep in
mind any homework assignments or projects that you have
due during the exam week. And, speaking of that, it’s
good to step back for a second and ask yourself, “What
kind of person am I “when it comes to
scheduling study sessions “and project and
homework sessions?” Maybe you’re the kind of
person who likes to intersperse the project work with
the study sessions to kind of give your brain
a break and a change of pace or maybe you’re like
me and you do better to put all of your project and
homework work on one day and then put all the study
sessions on another day and keep it all
compartmentalized so your brain is in the right frame of
reference on each day. After that, take stock
of your resources, make sure you have the syllabi,
all the course materials, handouts from your professors,
notes, and textbooks, and, at this point,
your number one priority is to assess your
knowledge for each class. Try to figure out exactly
what’s gonna be covered on each exam and figure
out where the gaps in your knowledge are. One final step before we begin
actually scheduling things and that is to prioritize
your classes and figure out which ones you should
study for the most and in what order you
want to study them. And to figure that out, you
want to figure out which classes are most important. There are a few different
factors that go into this. One of them is which finals
count for the most points, the percentage of your grade,
and those are usually listed on your syllabuses, syllabi. You also want to take into
account your current standing in each class. If in one class you have
a solid A, then maybe your final performance is not gonna
influence that grade too much and maybe in another class
you’re kind of on the precipice between one grade and
another and that final will really count for what
your actual grade is gonna be. Once you’ve taken those
factors into account, you can compare them
against the knowledge gaps you identified earlier to
figure out which classes are the most important
and which classes you’re struggling the most in, and those two pieces
of information together will help you more accurately
prioritize how long you should study for each
class and in what order you should schedule
your sessions. All right, now we are
ready to begin scheduling. So in the book How to Study
for College, which was written by the Cornell University
Professor Walter Pauk, the same guy who made the
Cornell note-taking system, he recommends creating
something called a home stretch
schedule for finals. This is basically a
schedule much like your normal weekly schedule
but ultra detailed. You want to put lots of things
in there like your mealtimes, all the little tasks you
have to take care of, and this can help you figure
out where the gaps are that you can schedule study
sessions for your finals. One thing I like to add to
this is you should try to group and batch your small tasks into
as few sessions as possible. That way, you’ll have more
uninterrupted blocks of time where you can actually
get studying done. Now, personally, my
tool of choice for this has always been Google Calendar. I’ve been using it ever
since I was a freshman, and if you’re more of
a paper planner person, that’s more your speed,
that’s totally cool. But at this point in the video, I want to go into Google
Calendar and show you one of my own finals
week study schedules. All right, so here we
are looking at the week of April 25th to May 1, 2010. This was the second semester
of my freshman year, and this is the week
leading up to finals, which I have my exams scheduled
in blue to let me know when they are, and I have looked
up when they’re scheduled. So let’s look at this
week leading up to finals, and it’s looking
pretty crazy right now, so I’m gonna turn off the
homework and the other and work. So this is my class schedule. I’ve got, I believe,
six classes here. Two of them meet only once per
week, so they’re pretty easy. Then I’ve got a Java review
session that I remember was a whole classwide thing
the professor was running. Definitely wanted to be at that. And also adding in my work, I worked probably 20
hours a week or more basically all through college, so I was balancing
that with classes. And, actually, this semester
there more than 20 hours a week because I had training
sessions for the summer job I was training for, so I
had to balance all of this. And because it was so
hectic, I wanted to make sure that I was getting my
meals and workouts in. On my other calendar, I had
lunches which were usually very quick and then dinners
which were with friends, and I wanted to make
sure those were longer because I really valued them. I also had gym times to make
sure that I was staying healthy during this studying week. So as Pauk says in the book
about the home stretch schedule, I now can identify gaps of time
where I can start scheduling my study sessions, and
that’s exactly what I did. And what I want to
point out here is I have finishing my
homework on one day. I’ve got one other
homework on this other day, and then when reviewing I
tried to be very specific about what I was gonna review. Remember what we talked about
with the Parkinson’s law, work expands to fill the
time allotted for it. You shouldn’t show up to the
library and just tell yourself, “I’m gonna study
for five hours,” because you’re gonna end up
just working on one thing for five straight hours. Instead, keep Parkinson’s
law in mind and also realize that your brain’s efficiency
is going to take a dive after 25 to 30 minutes,
so you can try scheduling your study sessions with the
Pomodoro technique in mind and try to accomplish a
specific set of things within 25 or 30 minutes and then
give yourself a small break. That being said, let’s go
over to the finals week, and you can see I have
my finals labeled in blue so I know exactly when they
are, and they just have work. There were no classes
during that week so I didn’t schedule things here because I
was not perfect as a student, but you could keep scheduling
things and being efficient up until your finals are done,
and then you are home free. All right, so to
round this video out, I’ve got three final quick
tips that can hopefully make your study
schedule even better, and the first one is to pay
attention to the ebs and flows of your body’s energy
levels throughout the day. For instance, maybe
your energy levels are highest in the morning, in
which case, maybe you should schedule your hardest
study session for then, but also make sure you’re
going to bed early enough that you’re well-rested
to get up early. Or maybe you’re a night owl,
and you find that you’re really, really focused at night, in which case, don’t worry
about getting up too early. Number two, remember that
the performance of your brain is connected to the
well-being of your body, so schedule time to exercise
and schedule time for breaks so you can reduce stress. And, lastly, ask for
help when you need it. Be sure to challenge yourself and try to work
through problems, but if you really get
stuck, asking a professor can accelerate
your review process and save you a lot of stress. If you’ve seen my video
with tips on starting a new semester, you’ll remember
I had a hidden calendar with my professor’s
office hours on it, and I could activate it
at any time to figure out when a certain professor
would be in the office and when I could go get help. So that’s it for this video. If you check the
companion article for it, you’ll find screenshots
of my Google Calendar in case you want to use it
as a guide for your own. Otherwise, if you like this
video, give it a like to support this channel, and I will see
you in next week’s video. (energetic music) Hey, guys. Thanks so much
for watching this video. If you want to get
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companion blog post, click the orange
button right there. And if you missed last
week’s video, we talked about a brain hack of sorts for
performing better on your exams, so check it out if
you haven’t seen it. Lastly, I’m @TomFrankly
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