Study techniques and tips for final exam preparation  

As the semester ends, students are preparing for Finals Week. Final examinations are the last challenge before students can finally relax and enjoy their break from college.

For the best possible results, a student needs to review and plan for studying for his/her finals. In one’s plan, it is essential to begin organizing one’s study methods. Now that finals are just days away, students must prioritize their studies. Various study techniques, advance planning, and success tips will all be covered in this article.

Tulsa Community College offers various resources to help students succeed. Thesha Ziegler is an academic success coach in the Center of Community and Learning at Tulsa Community College. She was interviewed by the TCC Connection recently. The topics discussed included study strategies and tactics, particularly for the week leading up to final exams. Below are the questions from the TCC Connection and answers provided by Ziegler during the interview.

TCC Connection: What are your recommendations for efficiently preparing for final exams?

Ziegler: Make a study schedule on your calendar, include 5–10-minute breaks in between each section, afterwards review what you studied before going to the next study section.

TCC Connection: How much time should students spend preparing for the finals?

Ziegler: The rule of thumb is to study two to three hours for each hour you are in class. For example, a 3-credit-hour class should include six to nine hours of study throughout the week. This does not include completing homework; they are separate.

TCC Connection: Can you describe the elements of an effective study routine?

Ziegler: Make sure you have created a learning environment free from distractions, have good lighting, and make sure you have all class materials needed (notes, textbooks, pens, index cards, and highlighters). Study one subject at a time.

TCC Connection: Which productivity techniques work best for students, and how can they overcome procrastination?

Ziegler: Having a time management routine is your best bet! Be well rested, take care of all distractions before beginning to study, and eat a snack. I would also add having an “accountability partner” that will give you the extra push to do great; this will help you fight the Procrastination Monster!

TCC Connection: What strategies may students employ to find a balance between their studies and extracurricular activities or job obligations?

Ziegler: Again, having a time management routine will give you the time needed to get things done. I would have the students log three days of normal activities from the time you wake until bedtime. This shows me where the time is being wasted and what block of time the student is most productive. Remember to use your planner, wall calendar, technology or cell phone to hold yourself accountable!

TCC Connection: Which resources available at TCC would you advise students to use to improve their study sessions?

Ziegler: TCC has many study areas on every campus: library, Student Union, Math and Writing labs, and quiet seating around the campus, including outdoors. The Center for Community and Learning has Peer Mentors who are excited to help students to improve their study habits and skills. For more information on peer advisers, visit the following link:

TCC Connection: What strategies may students employ to set priorities for and organize their study materials?

Ziegler: (1) Be honest with your study time to get the most out of your time available, (2) Do not cram; it will not help you; you will not remember much…it creates anxiety! and (3) Set your study schedule by using a Priority Matrix: Do Now, Do Later, Delegate, and Delete.

TCC Connection: How can students manage their anxiety and stress before exams?

Ziegler: (1) Know your status in the course. You will study more effectively when you know your bottom-line, (2) Time management for study hours; (3) Set the environment where you will be studying in advance, study materials, healthy snacks, water, (4) After each study session, test yourself, and (5) Sleep is your friend; get seven to eight hours, if possible.

TCC Connection: What advice would you give to students who feel overwhelmed by their assignments?

Ziegler: Communicate with your instructors after class, set up an appointment, or send an email as soon as possible to let them know where you are struggling. It is a helpful tip to let the instructor know what areas you understand so they can assist you in the areas you are struggling with quicker!

TCC Connection: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Ziegler: (1)Please be proactive. Know and visit where the support services are before you need them. If you are reactive, you are already behind the eight ball, and (2) Remember, education is a marathon, not a sprint! As an academic success coach in the Center for Community and Learning, my door is always open to assist with your success!  

The final exam is the last and often the most important study check before finishing a course. When it comes to studying, you may simply overcome any stress with the correct study habits, planning, and dedication. You can succeed at this! Never give up! We are all cheering for you here at TCC!

For more information about the resources available to students in the Center for Community and Learning, send an email to

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