Math memes

The final exam for many math courses is weighted a hefty amount so finding ways to effectively study for it is empirical. On top of making sure you stay on top  of your homework and go to class and tutorials, these tips can help you pass your exam with flying colours!

1. Review lectures you aren’t clear on

This is something you should be doing throughout the term anyways; reviewing lessons you find difficult. Especially in the weeks leading up to the exams, though, go back and review your own notes, your professor’s notes, and any audio or video resources that the professor has made available to you. If your professor or TA hasn’t posted any audio or video resources, do a quick search on Google or YouTube and you’re sure to find hundreds of people able to help you with the concepts you’re struggling with.

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2. Do practice problems

Do as many practice problems as possible for each unit and topic. Work your way up from the basic questions to more complex word problems. Also, do as many different types of questions for each unit. Your professor or TA will most likely post questions and sample final exams which will help you greatly. Again, looking online for question banks for the course can also provide variety in the types of questions you do. Make sure to find problems from as many sources as possible and try them all to make sure all your bases are covered and you’re less likely to be surprised on the actual final.

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3. Do combination questions

Sometimes, in order to really challenge students, profs will combine concepts and units and put them into a multipart word problem. There are also review questions in most textbooks that are like this. Practice these multipart and multi-concept problems, again, so you aren’t surprised on the actual test.

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4. Ask your prof or TA for help

After doing your reviewing and a good amount of practice questions, make a list of the things you still are not able to perfect. Take this list to your professor or TA and ask them to help you work through them. Make sure you have specific questions, though, and aren’t just going in and saying “I don’t understand anything!” because that will not be well-received.

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5. Don’t wait till the week before to start

In order to implement all these other tips, you need to make sure you start your preparations while you still have a decent amount of time. Give yourself at least three weeks (AT LEAST). The sooner you start, the more time you have to really drill the concepts into your brain. Studies have shown that slow, long term learning is more beneficial than cramming a couple days before. This doesn’t mean you have to spend more time studying, just spreading it out more. For example, instead of cramming for 24 hours straight before the exam, study for 24 hours over a period of a few weeks.

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Final exams can be daunting but if you take the correct approach and set up a plan, everything will be okay! Follow these tips and you’re guaranteed to be stress free while writing the test because you’ll be good to go!


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Shafa Rizwan

I'm a first year student at the University of Waterloo in the Science and Business program!


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