While high school finals aren’t exactly the same as college exams, they’re an excellent opportunity to practice the study skills you’ll use in college.

If you start implementing college-level study strategies now, you can be better prepared for what’s waiting for you once you arrive on campus. Below are tried-and-true college exam study habits you can and should start using in high school. 

Start Early

In high school, you may have gotten away with cramming for tests right before class or only studying the night before. That’s not going to work once you get to college. College exams typically test several weeks’ or even months’ worth of material at a time. It would be very difficult to review and retain everything in one night.

Why not break the habit of crash studying now? Train yourself to start early and spread your studying time over days or weeks depending on the amount of material being tested. With the extra time, you’ll be able to address particular areas you need to work on and have the opportunity to improve. You can even find a tutor or talk to your teacher if you’re stuck. Working ahead will help you earn the grade you want in high school and college. 

Find and Use Study Tools

In college, your professors won’t walk you through how to study. It will be up to you to figure out what works best. Get a head start on that by seeking out tools and trying them now. Look online for flash-card tools, studying apps and practice tests. There’s something available for every type of learner. You can also try out more traditional study methods, like writing flash cards by hand or rewriting your notes. The important thing is to find and use what will help you learn best. 

Form a Study Group

Like most things in college, studying can be very social. While there are some risks to socializing while doing schoolwork, like goofing off and not being productive, with the right level of focus, a study group can be very beneficial. You can divide work among the team, help each other understand the material and serve as emotional supports for one another. To reap the rewards of group work, though, you do need to understand your limits and figure out what’s helpful to you. Test out a few virtual or in-person study groups for your finals and do your best to learn not just the test material, but also what about a study group works for you and what doesn’t. 

Ask Questions

If you don’t understand something in class, raise your hand and ask a question. And yes, classwork does count as studying for a final. Engaging in class will help you better comprehend the subject and do better on the test. While admitting you’re unsure about a concept in front of a whole classroom doesn’t sound fun, chances are you’re not the only one who’s confused. You could be helping your classmates and even helping your teacher more effectively teach their lesson. Plus, asking questions aloud is something college students do regularly. 

If you’re still having difficulty, ask your teacher for help after class. This will be good practice for going to office hours in college. Professors reserve time every week to be available to answer their students’ questions. But, you need to be proactive about asking for help and comfortable talking to your professor to get the most out of office hours. Talking aloud both in class and in private to your teacher while you’re in high school will ensure that you’re prepared. 

Using these tactics now will give you the practice you need for college and the chance to learn what works for you. You’ll be better prepared for your high school finals, and when it’s time to take your first set of college exams, you’ll have strategies you can count on.