Semi-Finals: Tips and Strategies!

Semi-finals are brand new this Fall 2020 semester!  Remember, you don’t have classes during semi-finals so time management will be very important, including balancing time for sleep, rest, and good nutrition.  Add to that, preparing for the transition to completely online learning, it can be chaotic and overwhelming.  We know it is a stressful and uncertain time.  Be sure to take care of yourself – it’s an important part of preparing for any exam.  Find tips and strategies for managing stress here.

The LSC is here to help you think through important steps.  Since semi-finals are different from typical prelims, you will need to think carefully about building a plan for how you are going to carve out the time you need to study.  Read on for resources, videos, and the top 10 tips from study skills experts and LSC tutors.

– Use a semester and weekly calendar to plan your study.  Using a calendar will help you identify when you are busy and when you have some time to do other things like eat, sleep, or be active.  It will be important to identify those times since there are no classes and your schedule will change.  Along the same lines, check out the Guidelines for Creating a Study Schedule to make your study more efficient and the Five Day Study Plan to plan when and how to study for exams.  Don’t forget to check out the homestretch calendar here.

– Utilize tutoring and office hours.  Information about LSC tutoring can be found here.  When questions arise, visit LSC tutors for help.  Make sure to check the schedule for any changes in hours during semi-finals.

– Procrastination happens to all of us!  It’s part of the process but you can overcome it.  Find out out how to break the cycle here.

– Find a study partner!  Cornell students who are interested in finding study partners for a class they are in can sign up here Also find tips on Studying together in-person and Studying together online.

– Visit LSC’s Motivation stations for an online space to study.  Stop by just to study or for a study skills consultation!  We’re on Zoom and Gather Town!

– If you are a Cornell student, you can self-enroll in our Canvas module on Studying for and Taking Exams for a complete step-by-step guide on what works, what doesn’t, how to develop a study plan, and strategies for taking exams. Click on the link here to self-enroll in the module.  Learn about effective study strategies, concept mapping, and how to tackle different types of exam questions.

– Check out our videos on time management, the perils of multitasking, learning from online lectures and discussions, and being flexible.  Find the compilation of videos here.

Advice Corner:
Top 10 tips from the study skills experts and LSC tutors!

1. Prepare early: do practice exams, re-do problems, find online practice exams from other Universities.  Start studying early for big exams!

2. Make sure you’re caught up on lectures and work, especially for asynchronous classes.

3.  Set up a simple time structure for the exam period – during the study period and the semi-final period you will have less structure – make a simple plan – e.g., sleep, meals, exercise – so it feels more like a workday.  Use a homestretch calendar!

4. Study for more than one class a day – especially if you have multiple exams – work in time intervals – switch between classes – for more balance – and to spread out the work on more days.

5. Self-test, self-test, self-test! Do practice problems and get answers on your own. Write about topics and concepts and draw pictures and diagrams from memory. Try to be active – instead of just reading things over and over.

6. For exams that stretch over multiple days, decide how you’re going to budget your time.  Check out the online exam checklist.

7. For timed tests, keep an eye on the clock.  Check out the online exam checklist.

8. Be prepared for different types of tests.  For open note tests make a study guide that’s very organized.  Check out the online exam checklist.

9. Check your sleep schedule—study and take practice tests at the same time you’re going to be taking the test.

10. If you have to pack—do it in little bits, as a break from studying.  Check out our page on preparing to transition to remote learning.


For study skills consultations, don’t forget to stop by our Motivation Station!

Luna on Books

Good luck!

Created November 10, 2020.

Share this post!