We work hard all through fall term to earn a much-needed Thanksgiving break, and afterwards, time flies right into final exam time! As you gear up your classroom for finals week, be sure to pass these top study tips for final exams on to your students or post them in your classroom for some extra advice.

Make a Plan

Students, if you haven’t already, start planning for finals today! This is your best chance at reducing stress and being as prepared as you can be. Start to plan out your study schedule by working backwards from all your exam dates. Leave yourself ample time for breaks with your friends and family, meals, sleep, and exercise. Starting early ensures that you have plenty of time to ask for help if you discover that you need it.

Ask For Help

Unless you’re the type of student to rake in perfect scores with little to no effort, look for help where you can get it! Take advantage of additional study sessions your instructors or TAs may offer. Stop by office hours at least once, even if you only have “one quick question” (or a hundred). Try meeting with a study group at least once. Even if you have the material down pat, there’s no better way to make sure it’s ingrained in your memory than to teach it to another person.

Stay Healthy

Don’t skip meals, sleep, or exercise because you’re cramming for an exam. Your brain certainly won’t thank you the day of your final. According to the study “High impact running improves learning” in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, “regular physical exercise improves cognitive functions.” It was determined that exercise also has immediate beneficial effects on cognition. “Vocabulary learning was 20 percent faster after intense physical exercise as compared to [low-intensity exercise or rest].”

Reference: Winter, Bernward, et al. “High Impact Running Improves Learning.” Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 87.4 (2007): 597-609.

For even more finals tips for students, visit Questia‘s blog post, “Countdown to final exams: Study tips and techniques for success.”

Instructors, what strategies for final exam review do you find work best for students? Share your ideas below.