Five Steps To Acing Your Finals

Ready for finals? Rule the school with surefire ways to ace your exams!
by Macy Alcaraz   |  Mar 3, 2010
photo by Dakila Angeles
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Step 1: Have A Study Plan and Follow It If You Can

There is no reason why you should cram. If you plan effectively, you'll be able to study a few hours a day until your exam. This will make it easier for you to retain the information you need.

What to study. List down all the subjects or topics you need to prepare for. Prioritize the subjects you have more difficulty with and allot more time for them.

When to study. Don't study right after you've eaten. After a meal, you will feel lethargic and will not be able to study effectively. Half an hour to an hour after a meal is a good time to study. Also, do not study 30 minutes before your bedtime. Your body is already preparing itself to rest, so it'll be tough to retain the things you study at this time.


Where to study. Have a desk where you can read your notes. It should be cleared of distractions, such as magazines, non-school books, letters from friends, and pictures. Make sure you've got all your books, notes, and other materials on your desk before you start studying. It will also help if your study space is a relatively quiet area.

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Step 2: Time Never Runs Out When You're Up And About

Your brain can only handle so much information at a given time. Give yourself a five-minute break for every 30 minutes of studying. This way, your brain won't be too tired to think. You can walk around your room or grab a small snack—just make sure you're back at your desk in five minutes to study again. And remember to stick to your schedule, even if your favorite TV show is on. If your schedule says you're supposed to be reading Noli Me Tangere, you should!


Step 3: Mind Over Matter Makes a Candy Girl Smarter

There are many ways to improve your memory. Try the tactics below and find out what works best for you.

Read the material over and over. As you read the same thing again and again, your brain becomes more familiar with it. Other people like rewriting their notes for this reason.

Make up a song with the information you have. (Remember The Babysitters Club and "The brain, the brain, the center of the chain...")

Use acronyms to remember a list of items. For example, if you need to remember a list of fruits like: grape, orange, apple, and lemon, you can create an acronym, GOAL, using the first letters of each fruit. One word is easier to remember than four.

Another variation is to use an acrostic, which is like an acronym, but instead of forming a word, you can form a sentence with the first letters of the words to correspond with the first letters of the stuff you have to memorize. For example, we once used "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" to remember the order of the planets in the solar system. But since Pluto is no longer considered a planet, you can use this acrostic instead: "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Now."


Use flash cards. If you're studying the scientific names of animals, write the genus and species on one side and the common name on the other. You can even draw the animal! Although it will take more time to prepare, it can be fun to study with them. You can even get a friend to flash the cards for you and turn it into a game.

Use colors. Color-coding your notes can also help you remember things. You can use a certain color for dates and another color for the events that happened on these dates.

Act it out. You can assign different gestures for each item you need to memorize. This way, your body's muscle memory will help you remember what those items are.

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About the author
Macy Alcaraz
Former Editor in Chief,
When she's not busy online, she's in the kitchen on a mission to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
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