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How To Begin Studying For Final Exams

The way to begin, is to begin.

-Eleanor Roosevelt


The best students don’t work harder; they work ahead.

Often, students put off studying for final exams because the process seems overwhelming and they don’t know where to start.

The good news is that just getting going is what matters. There’s no need to worry about studying in a certain order, studying material that then doesn’t wind up on the exam, confusing yourself, or other such concerns.

Your brain is flexible and active, and the goal right now is to begin feeding it information to chew on. By starting early, you’ll have plenty of time to learn what you need to know and iron out your questions.

Here are some good ways to get going on final exam prep, even before the teachers hand out study guides:

  • Collect up your old tests and quizzes. Work through them one question at a time by covering up the answers and quizzing yourself. Make a list of things that confuse you, and look them up or ask your teacher or tutor.
  • Read your textbooks! If you’ve skipped or skimmed any assigned readings, read them now…and if your teacher doesn’t assign a lot of readings, read the chapter summaries, even though you weren’t told to do so. 
  • Review your math textbook by reading each section and then covering up the textbook examples and working them on paper.

Here’s a good article about the benefits of studying early (it makes studying easier, plus you’ll retain what you learned!)

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How To Begin Studying For Final Exams

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS is an educator, counselor, writer and speaker. She's been a tutor, test prep coach and home school teacher for over thirty years. Click HERE to visit Leigh's website and to subscribe to her newsletter, "Learning Something New."

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APA Reference
Cousins, L. (2016). How To Begin Studying For Final Exams. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 May 2016
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