Many students wait until the last minute to prepare for finals, and they experience anxiety when bombarded with an overwhelming workload. When panic sets in, the amygdala triggers a fight, flight or freeze response, and the stress hormone cortisol is released. Unfortunately, cortisol has a negative impact on learning, and it leads to memory loss and problems with recall. As you can see, preparing for finals in a timely and organized manner can help students manage their tasks, enhance memory, and avoid the negative consequences of triggering the reptilian part of the brain.
When Should Students Begin to Prepare for Finals?
I encourage my students to create a study schedule about four weeks before finals. This gives them plenty of time to organize materials, schedule needed appointments with teachers, and fully prepare for exams. I also find that this process offers them a manageable approach that avoids unneeded stress and anxiety.
What is the Process?
- Write out a list of the courses that require a final exam or project.
- Estimate the total number of hours it will take to prepare for the test or project. This includes organizing materials, creating study materials, consulting with teachers, and encoding all the content.
- Create a calendar or use the free downloadable test preparation calendar (illustrated to the right) and schedule the preparation time for each class.
- Write out the study approach for each class (also included in the download). This might include the chapters, topics covered, materials that need to be reviewed, test format, study strategies...
If you haven’t already downloaded my free test preparation calendar and test preparation sheet illustrated to the right, CLICK HERE for this free download.
Academic Tools for Success:
To help students develop successful study strategies and more, I created a 116-page publication that offers methods and materials that structure, guide, and support students. This comprehensive document includes agendas, questionnaires, checklists, as well as graphic organizers for writing and test preparation. You will also find advice and materials in the areas of reading, math, memory, motivation, setting priorities and creating incentives programs. What’s more, the materials accommodate learners of all ages from elementary to college. I also have The Executive Functioning Cognitive Remedial Bundle, which offers a comprehensive, remedial approach. This bundle offers a discounted suite of downloadable activities, games, and handouts that were designed to help learning specialists, educational therapist and even parents assist students in developing executive functioning skills.
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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