Looking for success on final exams? Here are some tips 

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While it is not as easy as it sounds, the best way to study for finals is to take the time to find strategies of learning that work for you personally. What works for you might drastically be different from what works for some of your peers. However, after finding those strategies that fit your personal preference, the time you spend studying will be more efficient and you will be more successful on your exams. 


At Bellarmine, teachers will have been preparing you for midterm exams for the entire semester. In the weeks leading up to finals, the best way to start preparing is to consult your teachers with any questions or concerns. Once you get your questions out of the way, you can create a clear study plan and can rule out uncertainties regarding your tests. Utilizing office hours or scheduling other times outside of class to clarify questions with teachers will set you on the right path before beginning your preparation for exam season.


Junior Maya Loveland-Hyland said, “For final exams I find it helpful to make a study schedule, and section out time to prepare for each final so I’m not overwhelmed with studying. I also find it helpful to utilize office hours to meet with teachers for extra review and clarification on any questions.”


If you don’t have any immediate questions, or after those questions are addressed, making a study plan is an effective next step. In high school, where you will have multiple finals that require studying, it is more difficult to be successful without having a set plan in advance. The ACE learning center has provided templates to help you get organized and block off specific times to study. The following links from Bellarmine’s ACE offer more details on how students set themselves up for success. 






After making a study plan, it is a good idea to prioritize your courses depending on your individual situation. For example, you may know that your biology final is going to take more studying than other classes. In this case, you know to start studying earlier for biology and block off a more substantial amount of time for it. Another case could be that you feel less strongly in your math abilities. This could be a good time to consult the ACE learning center to ask for a NHS tutor to help you in this subject. No matter your case, Bellarmine has resources available to assist you. 


Methods for studying will vary among courses and what type of learner you are. You may work well in a group, and in this case you might consider getting a study group together a few times before finals to help each other. You might study better in the mornings, and in this case you would want to look at your schedule and try to block off this time for studying so you can maximize your productivity during these hours. 


Additionally, it is important to note what type of studying is the most logical for each course. For example, reading over your notes before a Chemistry exam is likely not the best way to help you retain this information. Instead, you might utilize quizlet or strategies of active recall. 

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For a math test, you can practice explaining how to work through a problem to someone you know, because it has been proven that if you can teach it then you know the subject well enough to be successful on an exam. Apps like Quizlet or writing out physical flashcards are other examples of how you can make your study-time worthwhile. 


Additional tips:

  • Study in a space where you can focus and cut out distractions 
  • Prioritize studying each subject for multiple days at a time rather than all at once
  • Aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep so your brain can function properly
  • Fuel yourself with healthy food and water
  • Take five-minute brain-breaks every hour


While final exams can be daunting for first-time takers, the final piece of advice I would give is to try to do your best to reduce your stress levels. While this is far easier said than done, it is worth it to implement methods of self care to take care of your mental health. Find what works best for you: spending time outside, relaxing with your favorite movie, or spending a few minutes meditating every morning. Finally, remember that you are capable of more than you might think!