8 Study Tips For University Final Exams

Exam season is here and your time is precious so let's get right to the point: here are eight study tips from the Academic Success Centre (and beyond) to help you prepare for your finals.

A student writes on a piece of paper while looking at a laptop screen.

This article was updated in March 2021.

1. Take a look at your most recent notes first and work your way back to the info that your prof first introduced at the start of the term. The information that you learned last week should still be fresh in your mind so if you study backwards, the information that you learned at the start of the term should become fresher for you.

Working Backwards with Spongebob

2. You don't have to review all of your notes for a single class at once. Create smaller information chunks for yourself and give yourself small study breaks. This should help you stay relaxed and will make the prospect of studying seem more manageable.

Study Breaks are Important

3. If your prof highlighted the same topic three classes in a row or dedicated an entire lecture to a concept, you should probably spend more time reviewing your notes on it than you would spend on something that he/she mentioned as a two minute side-bar.

Kermit the Frog explains "More or Less"


4. Before you move on to a new section of your notes, quickly scan the information that you've already reviewed. Repetition and constant exposure to the material is always a good idea.

Scan Your Notes 

5. Make the information your own! Describe the concepts and/or events that you've learned about in your own words. Create mind maps, draw diagrams, or make flashcards. You can even try infodoodling.

Infodoodle Notes

6. Visit InfoLink's online Exam Registry to see if there are copies of past exams for your class. Even if you can't find your prof's past exams, taking a look at review materials for past sections of your course will help to highlight themes and concepts that you should be focusing on.

InfoLink Exam Registry

7. Make up your own practice questions and write out your answers. Explain the concepts that you've learned using your own examples and create lists and/or outlines for possible essays that you could write to explain the topics covered in your class.

Write Your Own Exam

8. Once you've found the review tricks that work well for you (not the tricks that work for your friends or classmates, just the ones that meet your needs), do what you need to do. Find your study comfort zone and own it.

This is Good

Be sure to check out the Academic Success Centre for more study tips and exam strategies.