November 25, 2020

Prepare for online finals with tips from the Study Skills Academy

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, the Study Skills Academy is ready to help students complete their courses and effectively prepare for online finals and exams.

The Study Skills Academy works to deliver evidence-based study methods to help students learn and succeed academically. The following tips are designed to help students prepare for remote finals and exams:

1. Make a study plan

Study Skills Specialists are available virtually to create a free customized study plan based on your specific needs. Request a meeting at

2. Honor the brain-body connection

The brain always prioritizes physiological needs, so be sure to stay hydrated and well-rested. Lack of deep sleep impacts the brain’s ability to both store and retrieve long-term memories — like those you need to access during exams.

3. Set a dedicated space

Identify a quiet place where you can focus (avoid your bed!), and begin your study session prepared with your notes, textbooks, laptop and chargers, as well as water and snacks. Bring only what you need to your study session, and consider leaving your phone in another room if you don’t need it.

4. Test your understanding

Don’t be a victim to the illusion of knowing! Test your understanding by teaching a term or concept to someone else. If you truly understand something, you can correctly explain it in your own words.

5. Identify what you don’t know

Resist the urge to glaze over what you don’t know. Evaluate and rate your understanding of course materials to determine where you should prioritize your time and efforts.

6. Study smart

Rather than reviewing notes, interact with materials and get creative! Make “question-answer” flashcards (instead of definition-only flashcards), design a mind map, draw concepts or generate concrete examples of terms.

7. Take breaks

Try the Pomodoro Technique of spending 25 minutes on intensive, active studying with a five-minute break. Complete three to four of these sessions, and then take a longer break. Be sure that whatever you do during your breaks doesn’t distract you from your next study session!

8. Face your stress

Ignoring stressors will only make them more persistent. Be honest with yourself about your emotional state and make use of WSU’s many virtual resources. If you can, compartmentalize your worries by setting aside time to deal with stressors, just as you would to study. Making time to validate your stress will help keep it from resurfacing during study sessions.