Plan a Strategy

Before you start to plan a strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what material will be covered on the test?
  • Do you have all of your notes together?
  • Do you have notes or at least highlighted sections on important information?
  • Have you read all of the assigned material?
  • Are you up-to-date on your class assignments?
  • Are you familiar with what is on your class syllabi?
  • Do you have any information available to you on the syllabus, blackboard or other places about test style, format or topics?
  • Do you know how much the test is worth and how it will affect your final grade?

Take the time to gather these materials, which will be of great use during your exam preparation. If you are doing this the night before the exam, forget the strategy and start praying. That being said, let's move on to the next step.

Step 1:Determine what's going to be on your exam. Will it be comprehensive or cover the most recent material? Talk to your professor about the topics, chapters and material covered on the exam.  This information is usually provided in your syllabus.

Step 2:Once you've determined what will be on the exam, figure out what you need to study. Gather, prepare and organize the materials you'll need to study the exam topics (i.e., textbooks, lecture and/or reading notes, flash cards, articles, past exams, quizzes and papers).

Step 3: With materials on hand, you're ready to start studying. Determine how much you have to study and how much time you have before the exam (two days or two weeks?). Then, block out specific and realistic times for studying.  Remember to study at your best, most alert time of day, not when you're an hour away from falling asleep.

Time Management Tip:You've got a lot to cover in the last few weeks of school, and you need to make the most of your time. Many students create a finals schedule to follow during the last two weeks of school.  You can use daily schedules to map out class times, time for eating, sleeping, errands and studying.

We've created an example schedule for you below. Your schedule will differ, but be sure to include free time for whatever needs to be done, and ALWAYS overestimate the time allotted for studying whenever possible. Remember--these exams can have a big impact on your final grades, so studying more than usual, and even on weekend nights should not be out of the question. This is when your social life needs to take a back seat to your academics!

Time Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat
5-6a sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep
6-7a sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep
7-8a sleep wake up b/fast sleep wake up b/fast sleep wake up b/fast sleep
8-9a sleep class sleep class sleep class sleep
9-10a sleep class

9:30 class


9:30 class

class sleep
10-11a b/fast errands class free class errands b/fast
11a-12n clean class lunch class free free laundry
12-1p email lunch lab lunch lunch lunch laundry
1-2p study study lab study study study eat/hang out
2-3p study study lab study study study study
3-4p study class free class free class study
4-5p free free study free free free study
5-6p dinner dinner class dinner class dinner dinner
6-7p free free dinner class dinner study free
7-8p study free email class email free study
8-9p study study study class study free study
9-10p study study study free study free free
10-11p free study study study study free free
12p-1a free free free free free free free
1-2a free free free free free free sleep
2-3a sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep
3-4a sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep
4-5a sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep
study time 6 hrs study 5 hrs study 4 hrs study 3 hrs study 5 hrs study 3 hrs study 5 hrs study

Blank schedule sheets, like the template above, are free to students and can be found in our office located in Foley Center Library, Suite 122.

For specific reference information, see Study Strategies page.