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The end of the semester looms as a stressful, dark, and exhausting final push until break. In fact, saying it’s stressful is an understatement, especially when you have grades riding on the cumulative result of one exam. You’ve worked hard all semester, and now you have to work even harder to do well on finals before you can finally rest for a month. You just have to grind and get through it, right?

At Pathways College, we know how tough finals can be. However, we know that the last few weeks of the semester don’t have to be torture. Our online college has compiled a few ways to make studying and taking tests a bit easier. Try out these tips, and good luck this semester!

Start Early

It might sound better to cram for an exam and pull an all-nighter. Some people even swear that this is their method of choice, and it’s the only way they do well on tests. We can practically guarantee that’s not the case. As time-efficient as it might seem, starting early and spending an extended amount of time studying is going to be your best bet.

As soon as you get information about the final, you should start compiling notes or preparing for the exam — if your final will test you on everything you’ve learned over the semester, make sure you keep consistent notes, quizzes, etc. from the semester as a whole. At the very least, start studying for finals two weeks before the exam date. You’ll be more prepared and more refreshed when you take the test, and instead of relying on your short term memory to save you, you’ll actually know the material.

Study Together

You might have aced that one midterm and barely scraped out a D on another quiz. There’s a good chance that other people in your class have experienced similar situations. Comparing notes and studying together gives you more information and helps you retain knowledge better. In fact, research shows that studying in groups is more effective than studying on your own.

You’ll be held more accountable for your studying when people are relying on you to show up, and you’ll get to collaborate on everything that you’ve learned. When it comes to finals, study groups set you up for success.

Get Help

If a professor or a TA offers a study session, be it in person or through your online college platform, always attend. Even if you think you know all the material, always attend. Even if you’ve studied your life away already and think there’s nothing more to be learned, always attend. The person leading the study group usually has some knowledge or access to the test itself, and they’ll tell you what to focus on. You could spend hours (or even days) studying algebra, only to learn that the majority of the test is going to be on geometry. Going to study sessions gives you inside scoop on what’s on the exam.

When help is offered, take advantage of it. If it’s not offered and you’re struggling, reach out to your teacher. If they know you’ve worked hard all semester, they’ll likely be happy to help you. However, if you’ve slacked off and haven’t tried your best a majority of the time, they might be less inclined. Remember that a final exam isn’t just a reflection of the material you’ve learned, it’s a reflection of how you’ve performed and worked throughout the semester — your attitude is absolutely factored into the final score.

Prioritize Sleep

Like we said, all-nighters are not ideal. A week straight of getting less than four hours of sleep isn’t much better. Simply put, your brain needs sleep in order to function. Your memory and problem-solving skills will be horribly impacted, and your physical body is likely going to feel like garbage. This is the exact opposite of how you want to feel when you’re taking a test. Your chances of acing the exam are going to be much lower than if you prioritized sleep.

Of course, there are going to be plenty of people who swear by all-nighters. Our online college isn’t here to question your success (or your methods), but we are here to give you tips that are proven to help people during the stressful time that finals is.

Eat Healthy

We know you want to order fast food or eat whatever crumbs you can scrounge up. You’re hungry, there’s no time to cook or grocery shop, we get it! However, eating junk food is not going to help your mind or your body. You’ll feel physically better when you eat healthy, and when you feel great, you’ll do great.

Plenty of organizations around finals set up free food or free meals for college students — churches in particular often have something set up. Look around or ask around, then you can combine studying with a good, healthy meal at the same time. Which brings us to our next point…

Find a Good Place to Study

When you really need to buckle down and get to business, you need the right environment. Your bedroom, the couch where Netflix is blaring in the background, the kitchen table where everyone’s talking — these places just won’t do. It’s essential that you find a quiet place to study that will help you be successful. Seek out your nearest library or coffee shop to set yourself up for success.

Look at the Big Picture

It seems like this is the biggest day ever. You might feel like failing this test means the end of everything, and that it means you’re a failure yourself. Work on telling yourself that this isn’t true.

We often get caught up in thinking that our achievements (or lack thereof) describe us as humans. But the truth is that these are but reflections of who we are — our true character isn’t defined by our achievements, but by the work we do to get there.

If you’ve studied and put in the work, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll fail the test or the class. But in the rare event that you do, you’ve still learned a lot, and you’ll know what you need to do to be successful next time around. The great news is that when you choose a business administration program or liberal studies program from Pathways College, you won’t have to pay exorbitant tuition fees to get the credits you need.

We wish you the best in your college finals, we know you’ll do well with these tips! If you’re looking for a flexible and affordable online college option, Pathways College is the path for you. View our program information to learn more, or apply today!