With finals season coming up, I wanted to share some study tips that helped me graduate with a 4.0 and continue that into graduate school. There is nothing profound about this set of tips, but if you are diligent about them and aren’t afraid to consistently ask for help, they are sure to help you succeed!

Study Tip #1: Rewrite Notes

Start by rewriting your notes from the semester but with one caveat: summarize notes into key concepts, equations, variables, theories, etc. Don’t write verbatim, but instead pick out what is most important from each set of notes and summarize them into helpful tidbits of information.

Example of some of my notes from class (not from a review session). I color coordinate everything and highlight important equations to make rewriting notes easier.

Study Tip #2: Practice Homework Problems and Example Exams

Go through your old homeworks and rework problems. I personally rework almost every problem, but use your discretion if you need to practice a specific question. Additionally, if your professor has provided practice exams, make sure you work those. You never know, your professor might pull directly from those old exams or at least some portions of them.

Example of some practice problems. I color coordinate practice problems too to keep different variables and equations distinguished and easy to read.

Study Tip #3: Read the Textbook

If a textbook is helpful, I ALWAYS read it. If your professor never uses the textbook, then perhaps you don’t need to read it. When rereading the textbook, follow the same tips as #1: pick out key topics, equations, and variables and summarize them in your notes.

Study Tip #4: Review Lecture Materials

Go back through any lecture materials you have (slides, notes, videos, etc). Again, summarize key points and make sure you understand each lecture topic.

Review all lecture materials!

Study Tip #5: Go to Office Hours and Exam Prep Sessions

Utilize all office hours times if you need them, but most always go to exam prep sessions. Your professors have taken time out of their already busy day to further emphasize or clarify topics so that you can succeed. Often times, professors will include topics in the prep sessions that will be on the exams, so you definitely don’t want to miss out.

Study Tip #6: Make a Killer Equation Sheet

If you’re in a STEM class that uses a lot of equations and you’re allowed to have an equation sheet, take full advantage of that! Don’t be embarrassed to include way more information than you probably need. I like to say equation sheets are like cheat sheets and if the professor is going to allow you to have one, might as well use it!