Although the close of the term may still be a few weeks away, it’s not too early for students to begin considering how they might prepare for final exams.

By getting a head start on planning out their study strategies, students can avoid much of the last-minute pressure they feel when they put off studying until the last minute… and, as a result, they can enter into final-exam time with greater confidence.

Eight things students should know before studying for their final exams

The following questions, based on material in Practicing College Learning Strategies, Seventh Edition by Carolyn H. Hopper, can help students develop their approach to preparing and studying for their final exams. Students will find some of this information in the course syllabus and through the announcements you make in class; the rest, they will want and need to determine for themselves.

  1. When and where will the exam take place? How long will I have to complete it?
  2. What percentage of the overall course grade will this exam be worth?
  3. What material will be covered on the exam? (Will it be cumulative, or will it focus on a certain portion of the course material?)
  4. What types of questions will be used on the exam? (Essay? Multiple choice? Problem sets? True/False? A combination of types?)
  5. What study skills should I use to prepare for the exam?
  6. What mnemonics should I use (if any)?
  7. What kinds of study tools should I use or create (e.g., class and reading notes; flashcards; summary sheets; etc.)?
  8. Can, and should, I find a “study buddy” or form a study group? When, where, and how frequently should we meet? (Hopper, 233)


How do you encourage students to prepare for final exams? Share your own tips and success strategies in the comments.

Reference: Hopper, Carolyn H. 2016. Practicing College Learning Strategies, 7th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.