You’re Doing Final Exams Wrong

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? Hours of sleep, are you missing?

You’re not delusional. The holiday countdown is upon us. However, so are final exams. Middle schoolers, high schoolers and college kids are strapping down for the final leg of the semester marathon. In fact, I’m currently sitting in between two college juniors with grocery store-sized bags under their eyes. Still going strong here.

Here’s how to avoid being a test day stereotype and gear up for success.

Miniature Due Dates

Studying doesn’t have to be a mammoth event if you manage it pragmatically. Set less-intimidating benchmarks to make larger tasks more approachable.

They can range anywhere from weeklong dates(do half the essay by this Sunday, and the other half by next Sunday) to daily deadlines(one page per day) to hourly deadlines(five paragraphs before 4pm).

When you segment time and stay accountable, that gives you even more time to…


Mom was right. Don’t kid yourself, you need optimal amounts to perform. It may be tempting to replace slumber in lieu of working, but your productivity decreases the more you do.


So you may not be an olympic runner. Perhaps you’ve been working on lifting that GPA instead of dumbbells. Even so, exercising during exams can be an essential tool for focus and success.

It’s not Bro Science: stimulating sweat is proven to actually boost energy and fight fatigue. It’s also a more productive study break than Youtube-ing or Netflix-ing. So don’t think of time in the gym as time away from the books; to prime the body is to optimize the mind!


Now that your mind and body are primed, it’s time to organize your study materials and make life even easier.

If you’re an old school cat and take down all your notes and textbooks on paper, physically lay them out on a clean surface. Organize by whatever make sense: chronologically, by subject matter, by importance or simply by deadline. This establishes a mental connection so nothing slips through the cracks.

But let’s be real, there are so many great apps that act like your own personal secretary. Mind Maps sorts out tasks so you can understand concepts more intuitively than just a linear list of “math stuff”. Combine technology with simply cleaning up your living space, and you can really fly.

Extra Hours

Hit up your professor/teacher’s after-class hours. Many students underestimate how many of their classmates actually take advantage of this valuable time. That means that those who do go often get specialized instruction and insider test tips from the instructor. Talk about eking out every advantage.

Specialized instruction will give you a broader understanding of the more complex concepts, and allows the teacher to pick out any mistakes you consistently make.

Hotline Bling

As rap/Internet sensation Drake says,

I know when that hotline bling… That can only mean one thing.

Drake’s being pretty ambiguous here. But for MathCrunch tutors, it means students have a last-minute question and forgot to ask their teacher. They need help now! Sometimes a simple explanation can make all kinds of lightbulbs go off and help unexpectedly.

You got the tools, now go forth and crush finals!

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