Maximum Education: Preparing for finals for different courses – finals prep #3

This is the third in a series of blog posts and articles on the topic of how to prepare for finals.  Nearly all of the material in these posts is drawn from my upcoming book: Maximum Education – The Ultimate Guide to Optimal Education.  It should be live on Amazon very soon and print copies will be available in June.


The simple truth is that preparing for finals is a lot of work.  It’s stressful for students at all levels middle school through graduate school.  But one of the realities is to accept that each academic topic needs a different approach to organize the information, review the information and prepare for the exams.

Some of these tips are addressed in this video as well. There are many specific subject based tips at:


  • Most finals are based on completing problems similar to the ones you had in class or for homework.  Review them!
  • Know all formulas and constants that the teacher will not provide on the test.
  • Show all your work – be sure that you can get partial credit whenever possible.
  • Make a single page listing every formula or process that you will need. Include examples.


  • Most tests usually present a combination of short answer questions, calculations, and essays.
  • Know any important scientists.
  • Make a single page listing every formula or process that you will need. Include examples.
  • Know the major concept(s) of each chapter.
  • Review relevant vocabulary.


  • Most tests usually contain short answer questions about details.
  • Study important quotes.
  • Know the main characters.
  • Understand the plot line.
  • Review important vocabulary.
  • Exams almost always include essays about major concepts or characters.


  • Most exams usually contain a short answer section about people/places/dates.
  • Make a list of people and the most important thing that each did.
  • Make a timeline of important events and dates.
  • Know important laws or significant events (treaties, etc.).
  • Most tests require essays.
  • Study any special vocabulary.

Foreign Language

  • Tests usually concentrate on vocabulary and grammar.
  • Understand the culture of the country if you have studied it.

In the end, preparing is a matter of knowing what you need to study, and then setting up a plan to review and re-learn this material.

Do you have any tips or techniques that have worked for you?

Leave a comment below and you could win a signed copy of Maximum Education.

Dr Steven Greene is the lead educator at mAke the grAde as well as the author of Maximum Education. 

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