Study Strategies to Get Great Grades on Your Final Exams

Barry Lenson

Study Strategies to Get Great Grades

On college campuses all over the nation, students are thinking, “How can it be the end of April already? How can it be that I have to gear up and start studying for finals again?” Yup, this year has gone awfully fast.

But the calendar doesn’t lie and if you are facing finals in the next few weeks, it’s time to gear up and shift your studying into high gear. Here are some strategies that can make your studying easier, earn you higher grades, and maybe even pump up your GPA a notch or two as the year draws to a close.

  • Use study groups to reduce big reading loads. If you had to read hundreds and hundreds of pages for a class, it can be nearly impossible to review them all effectively before a final. A better idea? Ask four or five of the other top students from your class to divide up the reading. It’s easy. Simply have each student read some of the material and prepare a written or verbal review of it for everyone in the group. This strategy can dramatically cut the amount of time it takes to study for exams.
  • Prioritize what you need to study. This is important if time is short and you have a ton of material to review. If you start to think about it, you will realize that some of that material you need to study is very important, some of it is only moderately important, and some of it is stuff you can skip altogether. Obviously, you study the most important stuff and work your way down from there, using your available time.
  • Use a StraighterLine course as a review program. Whether you’re studying for an upcoming exam in Psychology, Macroeconomics, Chemistry, or another subject, you could find just the review you need in a StraighterLine course. Check the StraighterLine catalog of online courses to find out if one will do the job for you.
  • Use memory aids to help you memorize lists, historical events, and more. Everyone knows the acronym ROY G BIV, which stands for the primary colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). But acronyms can also help you memorize almost any kind of list that you have to remember and regurgitate on an exam. Creating rhymes using the words that you need to memorize can also be effective. There’s even an online tutorial that explains these techniques.
  • Study in small time chunks, not all in one uninterrupted block of time. It’s easier to learn material in this way, instead of trying to “blitz” it all at once.

And here’s another technique for reading-intensive classes . . .

This might seem a little like sucking up. But here it is anyway. If you are taking a class with an instructor who was the author of some of the readings you were assigned to read for a class, be sure to cite those readings when you answer essay questions on your final exam. Your professor will be complimented and – let’s face it – more likely to give you a higher grade. Sorry to recommend a strategy like that here on the StraighterLine Blog, but since it’s a tactic that people have been using successfully for years, we wanted to remind you about it.

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