Final Exams Tips from WUSA Marketing and Communications Co-ops!

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2024

With the changing weather comes finals season – the few sunny days we get seems to be a contrast to the days we spend studying and cramming information in our brains, right? But there’s a lot of things we can do to stay on top of all our exams, final assignments and deadlines that doesn’t just take advantage of the extra sunshine!  

Find out your exam schedule from Odyssey or the schedule sent out to your UWaterloo email.  

Tips from a 2nd year Honours Health Science student – Anusha Akella 

As a current co-op student, I might not be facing finals this term, but having gone through finals seasons for three terms made me realize how important it is to have a specific mindset combined with study habits that work for me.  

  • I always make sure I know when and where my exams are, and if I can, I visit those locations beforehand to get a feel of the place. This way, I don’t have to track down a room on the day of your exam and risk getting lost or late – especially as a directionally-challenged person myself! 
  • Note-taking is my go-to study method – I review lecture slides, textbook concepts and learn things before writing down some notes in my own words based on what I understood. I always go back and check that the notes I took are accurate to avoid any wrong information that I learn.  
  • I also like studying with a group! Even though I prefer solo studying to limit distractions, I find that “teaching” difficult concepts to each other in a group always ingrains that knowledge into my brain. This also helps me understand the areas I lack in and where I need to focus on more! 
  • I take regular breaks and treat myself every so often. When I reach the point of feeling overwhelmed by everything, I take a break from studying. I recommend leaving your study environment and taking a walk or relax in a different place. Another thing I found that helps is celebrating the small victories! If you were able to finish studying all the topics that you’d wanted to study for the day, you deserve to celebrate with a treat! Grab some friends or take some ‘me time’ to enjoy.  

 

Tips from a 2nd year Honours Rec and Sports Business student – Hardhik Jain 

Bullet Point Breakthroughs:  

One of the most impactful strategies I’ve embraced is the habit of jotting down key points in bullet form as I progress through my coursework. Whether it’s on a notepad or my trusty notes app on my phone, this method allows me to condense complex information into digestible snippets. By summarizing concepts in bullet points, I not only reinforce my understanding but also create concise study materials that are invaluable during revision sessions. Once I’ve covered all the chapters, I make it a point to skim through these notes, reinforcing my comprehension and cementing crucial details in my memory. This process serves as a potent revision tool, ensuring that I enter the exam room armed with a comprehensive overview of the material. 

Solo Study Sessions:  

While group study sessions are a popular approach for many students, I’ve found that studying independently yields the best results for me. While camaraderie can be motivating, I prefer the solitude of solitary study sessions. Distractions are minimized, allowing me to maintain focus and delve deep into the subject matter without interruptions. However, I recognize that different students have varying preferences and learning styles. Therefore, I advocate for individualized approaches to studying—what works for one student may not necessarily work for another. Ultimately, the key is to identify the method that resonates best with your learning style and maximizes your productivity. 

Embrace Daylight Studies: 

As a self-professed night owl, I initially gravitated towards nocturnal study sessions, believing that they were conducive to productivity. However, I soon discovered the transformative power of studying during daylight hours. The natural light not only reduces eye strain but also helps in ensuring that I remain alert and focused. Additionally, studying during the day allows me to make the most of my peak cognitive hours, optimizing my retention and comprehension of the material. While adjusting to diurnal study sessions may require some initial adaptation, the benefits are undeniable, making it a worthwhile endeavor in the pursuit of academic excellence. 

 

Tips from a 3rd year Honours Political Science student – Ria Shah 

I personally prefer starting well in advance to avoid last-minute stress and cramming. It also gives me ample time to review my material thoroughly and identify areas that need extra focus.  

Additionally, I like creating a conducive environment that is free from distractions. I keep my study space tidy and well-equipped with all necessary materials, such as, textbooks, notes and stationery. A clutter-free space boosts my productivity.  

Time management is also extremely crucial especially during exams. I try to focus on high-priority topics while also creating space for breaks. The Pomodoro Technique really helps me prevent burnout. 

I also reach out to my professors or TAs when I struggle with certain topics. They are usually prompt in addressing concerns and confusion and help identify areas for improvement which can promote stronger academic skills, such as critical thinking and analytical reasoning.  

Lastly, explaining concepts to others is an effective way to solidify your understanding of the material. I love creating study guides and leading study sessions because it reinforces my knowledge and helps me identify areas that need further review. 

 

Tips from a 2nd year Honours ARBUS Communications Studies and Business student – Anusha Giridharan 

Being in my co-op term this winter, I realize that exam seasons are very stressful. Looking back at my previous finals, I have accumulated a few tips and methods that help me manage my time and stress during exam season.    

I always know when my finals occur as soon as the schedule is out. I prefer Google Calendar to note the day, time, and location where it happens so that I make sure everything runs smoothly and correctly. This helps ensure I always know when the exam is taking place and also helps me plan ahead on how to prepare for it. 

I realized there are habits that I unconsciously follow, like making sure my space is tidy, setting timers where I focus without any distractions and taking breaks. These habits help me to efficiently complete my study sessions. A clean study space helps me to avoid distractions. I always try to do other things instead of studying, so cleaning my space beforehand helps me minimize my distractions. Studying for long periods of time doesn’t help me, as I am more prone to distractions. Doing small yet focused study sessions with intentional breaks works better for me and is also easy for time management.  

I prefer using the campus libraries when I am not using my study space. They are useful resources where I can focus and complete my study sessions efficiently. Seeing so many students working so hard motivates me to do so myself. When libraries are busy, my friends and I try to find free classroom spaces to study. Although I do like solo studying, group study sessions can be effective if done right. Using short study time techniques where all of us are focused on our tasks and coming back together during our breaks can create a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Similar to my experience in the library, where other students studying motivate me to do so myself, group sessions also provide positive and non-draining study times. 

I always try to get good sleep before my exams and during study periods. I have realized I don’t work well at night and always schedule my schedule during the day. It is essential to know what works best for you and also keep in mind what is healthy. 

Good luck to everyone for their finals – know that we’re all rooting for you!    

*If you need academic support or would like professional help in navigating challenges during exam season, please reach out to resources like MATES, CAPS, the Student Success Office, and Campus Wellness, depending on the nature of your concern.   

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