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5 Effective Studying Techniques to Boost Your Grades During Finals Week

Updated: Jul 5


A girl studying in the library.

Hey! I'm Nick, Owner of Nucleus Tutoring. I've got over a decade of experience from all corners of Michigan. I've helped students succeed in their finals from every point in the academic timeline in every subject I can think of. From this time, I've gathered some good rules we at Nucleus follow to ensure the best possible outcomes regarding the dreaded "Finals Week."


But don't worry. After following these "5 Studying Techniques for Finals Week", you'll be more confident and prepared for your test day than ever before.


#1 - Haven't started studying yet? Start now!


Everybody procrastinates. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it's something that you'll benefit greatly from working on sooner rather than later! At first, it can be intimidating, but you don't need to get it all done or have a perfect strategy from the get-go. Starting with a simple look-over for 30 minutes daily will do wonders. 


Researchers from the Journal of Policy Insights from the Brain and Behavioral Sciences found in this article that state, short and repetitive reviewing of information does more for educational retainment than traditional "bulk" study methods. This strategy is called "Spaced repetition" and is favored among teachers, tutors, and professional students everywhere.



#2 - Breaks, Breaks, and more Breaks


Overstudying is the biggest threat to success during finals week. Why? Because by hour 6 of straight studying, we read the words on paper but don't understand them! Breaks are the most essential part of studying, as our minds need a moment to recollect everything we've learned, or we tend to forget it all. 


At Nucleus Tutoring, we recommend at least one 15-minute break every 2 hours of studying. You can achieve this by taking a bathroom break, catching up on emails or texts, or simply going on a walk. It's essential to take breaks from schoolwork to relax and strategize thoughtfully, as success is often the result of a healthy balance between hard work and rest.


"Spaced Repetition is a feasible and cost-effective way to improve effectiveness and efficiency of learning" - Dr. Sean Kang, Associate Professor of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education

#3 - To Group or Not To Group


I've tutored students who could only study if nobody was in the room and students who couldn't stand alone while learning. There are many different strategies for studying, but one of the most important is finding (or staying away from) study partners. Find what works best for you.


Be realistic with yourself on it as well; don't be afraid to let friends know you need to take time away to study, or if you like studying in groups, tell them it's time to study and get to work. Everyone is different, so never be afraid to accept that.


#4 - Practice, Practice, and Practice


So, now, you've run through all the material, but can you put it to work? The best way to complete every study session is with a few practice questions on the topics. Study guides, online questions, or even questions you make up yourself can go a long way!


Are you studying a topic that is hard to find questions for? Try a technique cherished by coders everywhere: The Rubber Duck Method. This method entails taking a rubber duck (person, thing, or anything) and talking them through a topic with no other resources. You'll quickly find what topics you're confident in and what topics might need another lookover. This new-age method is easy and has been proven to work, and I have confidence it'll work for you, too!


#5 - Sleep!!!


We've all been there: It's the night before the test, and you still have two chapters to do! Better pull an all-nighter -- STOP. No matter how much you study, none of it will be as good as getting a good night's rest. Studies have shown that sleep exhaustion significantly decreases cognitive ability, which will show on the test. If you're worried about studying a topic, get up an hour before you usually do to study it, but you shouldn't go to bed just as the sun rises; save that for after finals. 


Healthy sleeping habits will only benefit you, and when paired with a confident study strategy, you will feel awake and prepared on your testing day. 


In Summary


Ultimately, these techniques can help you gain a more in-depth understanding of the material and increase your chances of success during finals week. Remember that it will be a stressful week; once it is over, you will feel much better, especially if you did it well. 


If you want a more personal and expert view on helping you ace your finals, check out our services. We at Nucleus are happy to support your education and future success!

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