5 Mistakes to Avoid When Studying for Finals


No matter how you like to prepare for your finals, there are some things you should never do. Studying the wrong way is not only ineffective — it can even result in worse grades than not studying at all. There are a few key mistakes in particular you need to make sure you avoid.

1. Beginning Too Late

There’s no way around it: studying for an exam will take a certain amount of time. Waiting too long to start can have unpleasant consequences. For instance, you may need to skip your other classes, cancel social commitments, or miss extracurriculars. Spending hours cramming may also take time away from activities that keep you healthy, such as meals, exercise, relaxation, and sleep. This can easily lead to burnout.

Furthermore, when you lack regular breaks, you retain less. Plus, you’ll be unable to sleep enough the night before finals, meaning it will be more difficult to recall information during your exams.

2. Neglecting Some Material

A big risk of beginning preparation for your finals too late is you won’t have time to cover everything. Unless you know exactly what the exam will cover, you need to study all the material from the semester. Although none of this should be new information, it may take time to remind yourself of the fine details and memorize key facts. If there are concepts you found difficult the first time you learned them, bear in mind you may need extra time to ensure you understand.

3. Lacking a Schedule

For difficult classes, it may be necessary to start preparing for finals several weeks in advance. However, even if you have the best intentions, it will be difficult to stay on track with your studies if you lack a study schedule. Rather than just marking time on your calendar to study for a particular class, be specific about what activities you’ll complete.

4. Becoming Stressed

A certain amount of stress is unavoidable, but you can take action to prevent stress from becoming unmanageable. Simply giving yourself sufficient time to study, sleeping enough, and feeling as though you are prepared for your finals can be a huge help. You should also try to think positively about your results — if you’ve worked hard all semester, there’s no reason to believe you’ll do poorly.

5. Falling Prone to Distractions

Your study time needs to be distraction free. Turn off the notifications on your phone, tell your roommates not to talk to you, and fight the urge to do anything but study. If you find background noise helpful, choose some relaxing music — preferably without lyrics.

It’s important to have a quiet place where you can go to study in peace. You’re unlikely to find this at home if you’re living on campus. However, you can find an alternative to Ontario Tech University residence at Foundry Simcoe. You’ll have your own private bedroom (fully furnished with a desk and chair) and high-speed internet throughout your apartment. Living here will also avoid you wasting time on activities that distract you from studying — for instance, all our units come with a washer and dryer and you can request a reserved parking spot. Apply for a lease now.

Return to Main Blog Archive