Facing finals: Helpful tips to help you conquer this year’s final exams

This tough school year is finally drawing to a close. While this is certainly something to look forward to, the end of the year also brings a terrible evil: finals. When times seem bleak, do not worry. Final exams and projects are by no means easy, but you can get through them by preparing. Here are some helpful tips.

Upper school final exams will be proctored next week. The foreign language and math exams are on Wednesday, May 28, and the history and science exams are on Thursday, May 29.

Before you do anything else, you should figure out what material will be covered on your exams. Each teacher independently decides how much of what you have learned this year will be on the exam for the course. Some teachers will test you on this semester’s studies, while others may test on the entire year’s content.

Sophomore dean Kay McLeod said, “Students should make sure that they understand the format and the scope of the exam, so they know what material to study.” If your teachers have not given out an outline for the final exam, ask your teachers for one right now.

It can seem like these tests are massive. Considering how much there is to study and memorize, it is hard to know where to begin. Break everything down, and organize everything you have learned into chapters/groups. Create an outline of the big concepts you have learned, and then the subtopics. This helps to paint a picture of what you need to know.

Once you know what to study, the next step is to prioritize. Some things are more crucial to study than others.  “My tip would be to focus in on the meat and potatoes, the main concepts of the various units of the year to see if you can grasp the big picture,” said freshmen dean Casey Asato.

Do not be afraid to ask your teachers for help! If you struggled with particular chapters during the school year, you will struggle with them again. By going in for extra help as soon as possible, you can ensure that you are better prepared for the questions relevant to that chapter. When asking your teachers for help, you can be positive that they are teaching you the big things you need to know.

Once you are prepared and know what you need to study, the thing you need to do now is actually get down to it. Flashcards and Quizlet-generated tests are a good way to get feedback on your progress.

The final exams are extremely important to your grades, and you should not postpone studying. Asato said, “Make smart use of your time. I wouldn’t wait till the night before the final. Now is the time to start.”

McLeod even suggested that “preparing for finals should begin the first week of school. Conscientious students who read each assignment and do all the homework for the course should be prepared to do well on the final exam without a lot of last-minute cramming.”

Not all of us have a lot of time to devote to studying, considering homework and extracurriculars. A good way to slowly get ready for the tests is to study every day.

“Time management is important when facing multiple exams. Create a study schedule that makes sense,” said McLeod.

This year, upper school students will not take an English final exam; rather, they will create a final project. Do your research and prep work ahead of time, and work a little every day on your project. That way, in the days before the project is due, you simply need to pull everything together and revise your papers.

Although studying is important, so is rest. A good night’s sleep is much more valuable than pulling an all-nighter to work on studying or to work on a project. If you feel well rested the day of the final, it will be easier to process information and brainstorm.

Asato said, “I would say try to get a good night’s rest the night before because the tired mind can’t function well. Eat a good breakfast.”

Some people panic when taking their exams. Make sure you do not get overwhelmed. Rather than focus on how much there is to do, just pay attention to the particular question you are faced with at the time. “Focus in on the task at hand,” recommended Asato.

As the finals draw closer, remember to get ahead and prepare as soon as you can. Good luck!