Preparing for Finals

Like a team prepares for gameday, you need to have a game plan. Here are some tools to help you create your own finals plan.

Finals Prep Checklist

Mapping Out Your Finals

GPA Calculator

GPA Pit Stop

Remember the strategy of Spaced Practice from the Learning Scientists? It is better to space out your studying over several days rather than cramming at the last minute. Refresh yourself on how to do Spaced Practice, and all the other Learning Scientist strategies, here:

Spaced Practice

Retrieval Practice


Dual Coding


Concrete Examples

There are also many Success Skillshops on the topic of academic success. Be sure to check out Checking Your Recall and Understanding and skillshops on mindfulness.

And don’t forget, you can create virtual study groups through StudyBuddies in your Navigate App! Learn more about StudyBuddies.

We also have tips for working with Online Study Groups.

Yes! TutorMe is a 24/7, virtual tutoring solution that is FREE for Washburn students. This fantastic resource lets you get tutoring on your own time, even if that is 2am. Want to get started? Simply email and we will pair you up with your own personal tutor.

In addition, your faculty members continue to hold office hours, so be sure to check your syllabus, or send them an email, to find out when those are. Remember, office hours are specifically dedicated to helping students be successful, so do not be afraid to use them if you have any questions.

There are many spaces on campus to study, but we encourage you to come to Mabee Library! While masks and social distancing are required, we still have computers, tables, whiteboards, and markers available for you to use. Even though all classes will be remote, we will be open for in-person use after Thanksgiving Break, so be sure to check out our library hours.

You are not alone in this struggle! The best way to combat procrastination is to force yourself to plan out your days and weeks ahead of time. If you have a set of small goals or “to dos” for each day, you can fight back procrastination by checking off one or two tasks at a time. Try these tools to help you get started.

Prioritization Mapping

Week at a Glance

For the most part, you will prepare for an online final just like you have an in-person one. There are a few differences, though, that you’ll want to be aware of. Check out this document for tips on how to rock your online finals:

Rocking Your Online Finals

First, deep breath. You got this! Second, remember that you are not alone. There are many resources on Washburn’s campus to help you, especially Counseling Services. Cardio is also an amazing stress reliever, so be sure to stay active while you are studying. And, don’t just eat Doritos and Snickers—your brain needs good fuel in order to perform at a high level. Finally, get some sleep. Lack of sleep will only compound your anxiety (and harm your ability to retain course material).

Tips for Continuing Your Success in an On-line Learning Environment

Things may feel out-of-control right now. You may be facing a lot of unknowns and disruptions. Try to be patient with yourself, your classmates, and your instructors during this time. Take care of your wellbeing first. Making a plan and adjusting your studying may help you feel even a little sense of control.

One big comment first – If this is your first experience with on-line learning, recognize that your study habits may need to change.

With that in mind, here are a few topics we are going to talk about:

  • Staying Organized
  • Avoid Multi-tasking
  • Make the Most of Video Lectures
  • Set a Schedule
  • Adapt Your Strategies
  • Working with a Group
  • Stay Connected with Your People

A quick note – If you have participated in WU101 in the last two years you’ve likely already been introduced to a group of scientifically proven study strategies, offered by the Learning Scientists. You’ll see information and links to the 6 distinct strategies sprinkled throughout the topics.

High School students – Watch this short introductory video to get started with The Learning Scientist Strategies.

With so many things changing in your courses, you might be reliving that first-week-of-class confusion. Here are some things you will want to keep track of for each class:

  • Are in-person parts of the class changing?
    • What are the in-person parts of this course? (lecture, lab, etc
  • Where can you find it or how do you access it? (live-stream, lecture capture, etc)
  • Is it at a specific time or can you watch it anytime?
  • Are assignments changing?
    • Are there new due dates?
    • Is how you’re submitting your assignments changing?
    • Are any quizzes or exams being offered virtually?
  • What should you do if you need help?
    • Is your instructor offering virtual office hours? When and on what platform?
    • Is there an online forum for asking questions?

One example of a way you could keep track:




Important Dates


Paper due on April 3

Big Changes

D2L Discussion Board usage now

May do a paper now instead of group project

How to Get Help

Online tutoring

Zoom Office Hours

  • There are several downsides to multitasking:
    • Assignments take longer. Each time you come back to that assignment (from Instagram or Twitter), you have to re-familiarize yourself with it, find your spot, remember what you were going to do next, etc.
    • You’re more likely to make mistakes. Distractions and rapidly switching between tasks tire out your brain.
    • You’ll remember less. When your brain is divided, you’re less able to commit what you’re learning to long term memory because it doesn’t get encoded properly into your brain.
  • What do to instead:
    • Focus on one task at a time.
    • Take breaks between tasks.
    • Remember the Learning Scientists and the power of Interleaving to help you focus. Study one topic for 25-50 minutes and then reward yourself with a short 5-10 minute break. Then, switch to another topic.

Video lectures have a different feel to them than listening to someone in person, and it is tempting to not give them your full attention. Consider these tips to increase your retention of video lecture material:

  • Stick to your instructor’s schedule before the COVID-19 disruption as much as you can. Staying on schedule will help you have a feeling of normalcy and prevent you from falling way behind.
  • Find out how to ask questions. Is there a chat feature? A discussion forum?
  • Close distracting tabs and apps.
  • Continue to take notes as you would if you were there in person. This will help keep your brain actively focused on the material.
  • Watch recorded lectures at normal speed, not 1.5x or 2x. Research shows that faster playback speeds lower your retention and can result in lower scores on assessments.

With current social distancing measures, you may have fewer social commitments, group meetings, or even work hours. In the absence of your usual structure, set a schedule for yourself to keep you focused, productive, and motivated.

  • If you don’t already use a calendar or planner – START NOW. You will not be successful in an online learning environment without one.
  • Consider keeping a master planner or calendar with all your due dates and exam dates, and also making a daily schedule for yourself, like the one below. Here is a link to a blank one you can download and fill out for yourself each day:


Scheduled Activities

Course Work

Personal Care




Shower, Breakfast


American Religious History Zoom lecture





Read Chapter 3 from Religion textbook





Check in with Mary to see what she is up to







Read Chapter 4 from Anatomy textbook




Watch recorded Anatomy lecture



Scheduled Zoom call with Anatomy study group






Take a walk



Write up questions to ask Anatomy professor in Zoom Office Hours tomorrow


  • And remember, according to the Learning Scientists, Spacing out your studying, or managing your time, is foundational to learning! Check out this link for more information and helpful tips.


Although your study strategies themselves are not that different in an online learning environment (continue to use the Learning Scientists), some of your preferred study routines may need some tweaking.

  • If you usually study in a coffee shop or library
    • What is it about that environment that helps you focus? Is it the white noise? The furniture? The designated study space? See if you can recreate that at home with music, a white noise app, studying in a chair rather than your bed or couch, or moving to a new spot in the house when you change tasks.
  • If you always study in groups
    • Try a virtual or phone-based study session with your group. Zoom is an excellent and free tool for group collaboration because you can share your screens with each other (and see your friends’ faces!) And, importantly, ALL WU STUDENTS HAVE A FREE BASIC ZOOM ACCOUNT. You can also consider Google Hangouts. Whichever method you choose, schedule a time for your group to regularly get together in a virtual environment.
  • If you thrive on tight timelines
    • Your schedule is probably more open now, so think about how to recreate a sense of urgency. Work with others who will hold you accountable to deadlines you set for yourself. Or, challenge yourself to complete a certain task in 15 minutes.

Remote collaboration will look a little different, but it is definitely still possible. Remember these keys to success:

  • Do not procrastinate.
    • That group project may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind if you don’t see your group every MWF in class. Resist the urge to put that project off. Use Study Buddies within the Navigate App to build a success group.
  • Meet regularly.
    • This is especially true if you usually touched base during class or lab. Consider a quick text on your group chat about your progress every couple of days. Have a real conversation over video any week that you’re working together.
  • Set a purpose for meetings and use a shared notes document.
    • Meetings might feel different when using video, even if your team was really good at working informally in the past. Try to set the purpose of your meeting in advance. Take notes on a shared doc so you can all contribute and follow along. You can do this easily in Google Docs.
  • Keep your video on during remote meetings.
    • Whenever possible, keep your video turned on so you can see the expressions of your teammates and they can see yours. It will help you feel more connected to one another!
  • Check on each other and ask for back up.
    • If someone has been absent from your group meetings or chat, ask them directly if they’re still able to participate in the project. If you aren’t getting responses in a day or two, let your instructor know.

As the current health situation demands that we limit the face-to-face time we spend with each other, connecting with family and friends is more important now than ever. And, staying in touch with instructors, classmates, and group mates is vital to your academic success in an online environment.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Schedule video calls with friends and family. Talking with loved ones is an important stress reliever. So is laughing, so take a moment to laugh with your friends and family each day!
  • Use virtual hangouts. Zoom and Google Hangouts will help you connect with classmates to talk through a tough problem. Also consider sharing your phone number with a friend in class so you can text each other when you’re stuck.
  • Attend virtual office hours or study groups. This is one of the best ways to stay on top of your coursework. Connect with your classmates through Navigate's Study Buddies feature.

Visit our Success Skillshops page to watch videos that will help strengthen your learning & study skills.


If COVID-19 has disrupted your travel plans, ended a lab experiment you were excited about, or for any reason feels like it came at the worst possible time, remember: this is temporary. Washburn University and the Center for Student Success is committed to helping you stay on track until things get back to normal.

Until then, don’t panic—you’ve got this. Take a deep breath, do your best, use your resources, ask for help, and wash your hands.


Mabee Library has a limited number of laptops available for students. Please contact (785) 670-1550 to make arrangements.


Washburn Updates on COVID-19

Updated Grading and Academic Policies Spring 2020: COVID-19

Preventing COVID-19

WU Remote Learning Resources

Counseling Services

Services for Students with Disabilities

Academic Advising


Study Buddies

Online Learning Guide

Find Free WIFI in Your City

ATT COVID-19 Internet Service

Cox COVID-19 Internet Service


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