College Study Tips

The Ultimate List of Study Hacks you Need to Pass Every Exam

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It’s that time of year again… time to start studying for finals. I’m a junior in college this year and I’ve learned a lot of finals week study hacks and overall college study tips throughout the years.

I have piled together my best college study tips so that you can all learn from my mistakes! I hope these help and good luck on finals everyone!

You CAN do this!

*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way. All ideas and opinions are my own.

The ULTIMATE list of College Study Tips

PERFECT for Finals

  • Relax

First thing first, just relax. This is NOT the end of the world and you can do this! It will be a lot of hard work, but it will be so worth it. Take a few deep breaths and lets begin.

  • Start Early to Avoid Cramming

This one seems obvious yet I am so terrible at it. In the beginning of the semester write down all of the exams and big projects you have. Plan ahead and give yourself more than enough time to be prepared.

  • Meet with Your Professors

For some reason it took me almost 2 years in college to figure this one out… even though people told me to do it all the time. I didn’t really understand how beneficial it was until I did it.

Before you go to visit them, write down certain topics or specific questions that you don’t fully understand. Most professors are so happy that you came to them for help… that is what they are there for.

  • Join a Study Group

This is something that should be done at the beginning of the semester to be most effective. However, often times study groups are formed just for midterms and finals. Talk to some students in your class and get together.

Share notes, ask questions, dig deeper into the material than you would alone. Different people see things differently so hearing their take away on certain topics can be really beneficial.

Plus it’s a nice motivation to have others studying for the same thing as you.

  • Teach a Pretend Audience

It has been proven that the best way to learn something is by teaching it to others. If you have a friend or family member that is willing to listen to you teach them then do that! However, if no one wants to listen to you explain why the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, then just teach a pretend audience.

Your roommates might think your crazy, but trust me when I say that it helps so much! I wish I would have learned this earlier.

  • Find a Good Place to Study

The perfect place to study can be different for everyone. Some people like the library, others like to find a nice place outside in nature, and some like to seclude themselves from any and all distractions.

Find what works for you and go there!

  • Switch up Your Location

Now that I had you find your perfect study spot, find another one or a couple more. Switching up where you are studying can be extremely refreshing. If you’re in one place for too long, your brain can just start going through the motions rather than absorbing all of the information.

  • Know Your Distractions & Avoid Them

Find out what most easily distracts you. For me it is social media, email, games on my phone, and pretty much anything that can make me procrastinate.

Now avoid them! For me I have to turn my phone completely off and put it away. I also try to avoid using my laptop as much as possible. Sometimes there are online materials I need. If possible I download them so that I can turn the WiFi off on my computer. Then when I involuntarily open up the internet to check facebook, I am reminded by the “no connection” that I NEED to study.

  • Have a Clean Area to Work

This goes hand in hand with avoiding distractions. The more things in your work area, the more likely you are to be distracted.

However, another reason to have a clean area to work is just peace of mind. Once in a while I study from home at my desk. If my desk or room is messy, it adds unnecessary stress. I feel much more productive when I clean before I study.

  • Take Breaks

This is SO important and I never used to do it, but it really does help you retain information better. Find a schedule that works best for you. Mine depends on the subject that I am studying. Somewhere between 45-60 minutes of studying with a 5-20 minute break.

During your breaks make sure you get everything you need (water, snacks, etc.), go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, and just relax. Personally I use this time for all of the previous things plus checking social media (so that it is less likely to distract me during study time).

  • Reward Yourself

You have been working so hard and you deserve a reward. Seriously set up a system where your hard work gets rewarded (in addition to a good grade on your exam). I normally reward myself with ONE Netflix show after I finish the designated time I set up for a subject. After the ONE show, I start studying the next subject.

Your reward should be something that allows your brain to relax for a bit. It also shouldn’t take up too much time because there is too much to get done.

  • Take Care of Yourself First


Do NOT put your mental and physical health on the back burner just because you need to study. This happens way too often and actually makes it harder for you to retain the information you are studying.

Get PLENTY of sleep, get some exercise (even if it is light stretching), drink A LOT of water, and eat healthy! I like to have salty and sweet snacks easily accessible to me while I am studying. So head to your local store and pick up some healthy snacks for your study session.

One of the biggest and most common mistake students make is pulling an all nighter in order to get more studying done. This will hurt you more than it helps. Your body needs sleep in order for your short-term memory to work properly.

  • Make a Reasonable Study Schedule

This is also a huge one that I struggled with for a long time. I would always schedule WAY too much stuff to get done in a day. At the end of the day I would feel defeated and inadequate. It also made the next day extremely difficult to find the motivation I needed.

Plan out the things you want to study and when you want to study each thing. Scheduling less is better! If you accomplish everything on your schedule with more time left in your day then review material that you don’t feel as comfortable with or start on tomorrow’s schedule.

  • Don’t Focus on What you Know

Before you start studying, go through the material you need to know for your final or exam. Categorize things into what you completely understand, kind of understand, and don’t understand at all.

Review the things you completely know, but don’t spend too much time on it. Most of your time should be dedicated to the material that is the hardest for you to understand and remember.

  • Disconnect Before Bedtime

If you are using a laptop or anything else electronic to study, try to put it away at least an hour before you go to sleep. Study off your notes, books, flashcards, anything but electronics.

Even if you want to stop studying an hour before bed and read a book, listen to music or a podcast, or something else relaxing that doesn’t involve looking at a screen.

You’ll be able to fall asleep faster which means more sleep!


I hope these college study tips help you thrive during finals week and all exams! Please let me know what your ultimate college study tips are!

College Study Tips


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Alexandra (@Lexwhyte)

I wish I had had these when I was in school… definitely exam season is the worst and talking to your profs makes a HUGE difference. But even do it at the beginning of the semester so they get to know you (trust me it helps).

Yes I agree! Talking to your professors early on and often makes a HUGE difference.

I haven’t even thought about studying for the past couple of years (hooray for 10 years of school being over!) but I always colour coded my notes. If you have a decent photographic memory or are more of a visual learner, it can definitely help you recall what was in your notes. Plus it helped me categorize all the information when I went through to colour code it. Good luck with the studying!!

Lucky for you! I am excited for the day I am finished with school! I am trying to enjoy it while it is here though… haha
I will definitely try color coding while I am studying the next two weeks! && Thank You!

I’m a freshman at Clemson, and also fellow blogger! I agree with all of your points in this post!

Oh I hope you had a good freshman year! && good luck on your finals!

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