Hey, guys! Since finals week is quickly approaching and I absolutely love organizing and making study guides, I've decided to share some of my tips and tricks with you a series called Hacking the Study Guide :).
For this series I will be looking at the type of material that has been covered in my classes during the semester, the type of final that the class requires, and the best ways to go about studying for said final.
First off, I present to you the FREEBIE FINAL. This specimen is a staple in those classes with a more "filler" feel, and a staple of teachers that are kind enough to not actively try and screw you over. The freebie final is that final which can usually be done from the comfort of your own home, or in a classroom, but without any restrictions as to what you can use as helping material. Usually, the freebie final is neglected by students within their study process, but that shouldn't be the case.
While in theory, it's pretty easy to ace this thing, in practice it can be a very stressful process. If you haven't learned anything all semester and you're just basing yourself off the books (and even if you think you have some idea about what's going on), then you'll probably find yourself wasting those timed minutes by going back and forth in the book and trying to find all of the information on the spot, then getting only half your final truly done and guessing the rest.
The freebie final can be structured multiple ways. First, there's the final that gives you a study guide- that you should probably be doing. Then, there's the final that doesn't really give you anything. For that, before taking the test, skim each chapter for major points (so that you know where to find your information). Use sticky notes to bookmark the start of each chapter in your book. It'll be easier to find what you need during the test.
Finally, there's my kind of freebie final. Throughout the semester, we've had online quizzes on the material- and all of the exam questions will be coming straight for those quizzes. Now, I could just open all my quizzes last minute during the exam, but that's just messy. Instead, I prefer having actual, tangible paper to work with. Here's my thought process, in steps:
1. Step 1: Type out all of the quiz questions and their answers into a Word document. Format the questions so they're easy to navigate. I went in the order the questions were given in each quiz, but organized them by chapters. Print out the pages.
2. Step 2: Color code the types of questions that are given on the exam, so you can scan the paper rapidly when actually taking the thing. Use very bright, very distinct colors so you don't mistake one question type for another.
3. Step 3: Staple it all together and make sure it's easy to navigate for you. Before the exam, read through the questions one more time so you're familiar with their location within the guide.
The freebie exam is a chance to score some major, basically free points in the class, and so many students miss their chance every semester. Don't be one of them. It only requires a tiny bit of effort :)
Good luck on finals!