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One Month Until Finals

It could be sooner than a month or closer to five or six weeks, but to me this is the homestretch of the semester, as finals are coming. If you haven't been on your A-game for the first ten or so weeks of the semester (don't worry, you're not alone) then this is the time to get organized so you can still end the semester on a good note.

These are just a few of the things you might want to have in order before the dreaded final week comes for real. All of this, of course, will depend on what type of final you have or if you even have on at all!

1. Get your due dates in order. 

If you haven't had these written down in a calendar right from the beginning of the semester when it was given on a syllabus, now is the time to do it. Sometimes, dates are subject to change, but it's better to have something written down so you are scrambling three days before a deadline realizing that you haven't started the research for your paper, let alone started writing it.

2. Write down the dates of your exams.

This goes along the lines of due dates. Make sure that you have the time, date, and place (if applicable) of your final exams for the classes. Sometimes professors write them on the syllabus, sometimes they don't and you might have to check the master academic calendar on your school's website or just ask the professor yourself!

3. Ask if it's cumulative or just the last exam. 

Some professors may or may not answer this, but less than half of my finals have been cumulative. Pretty much all of them, aside from my math exams, have just been the last (so second, third, fourth, etc) exam of the semester. This will save you a ton of studying (or it might make you have to study more if you weren't prepared for cumulative).

4. Start flash cards early.

It's never too early to start studying for finals, whether it's cumulative or not. If you're given a study guide a month in advance like I did for my Spanish class, take advantage and start filling out study guides and making flash cards (if that's your preferred method of studying) so you're not rushing to do it two days before the exam. It doesn't have to be flash cards, either. If you like to rewrite notes, start rewriting early. Same goes for timelines, charts, or whatever studying method you prefer.

5. Choose paper topics. 

If your final exam is a paper and you weren't required to pick a topic early on in the semester, I'd suggest picking out your topic a few weeks before you intend to start writing it. Conduct your research beforehand as well so you have enough knowledge and back up information about your topic that you should just be able to sit down and write your rough draft with ease because you have all of your tools necessary. I have a post about the anatomy of a good college paper I wrote during midterms last semester which details the various steps to writing a paper, including choosing a thesis statement or topic.

When do your finals start? What's your preferred method of preparation?


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