How to succeed on your final exams


It’s one of the most dreaded times of the year, and we’re approaching it very quickly: final exams. As this semester winds to a close, it’s time to begin preparation for finals. Trying to shove in the remainder of the curriculum’s material is overwhelming, and studying for finals adds to the heaps of stress high school students already have.

We all know that finals count for 20% of the final grade, but there are ways to keep calm before the big assessments. It can be a challenge to remember what you ate for dinner last night, let alone everything you’ve learned the entire semester. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips to help you ace your exams this semester.

The number one tip is to not procrastinate; it would be almost impossible to learn all the necessary material in a single night and attempting to do so will not save you any stress.

“Spread out your studying over a few days,” said senior Lauren Hart. “If you try to cram a whole semester’s worth of information into one night, you definitely won’t remember it all.”

Studying a little bit every night can make the work a lot easier to retain and will be a lot less overwhelming. “Start [studying] as early as possible,” said sophomore Patrick Kitchen. “Even if you review a page of material from each of your classes each night, you’ll have a great start.” Avoid last minute procrastination.

In addition, it’s helpful to have a quiet and peaceful study area. Distractions make it hard to concentrate and studying is more effective when your mind is completely focused on one subject.

Some people study better when listening to music or having some noise in the background while others need complete silence to have a successful studying session.

“To get focused while studying for finals or any big test, I always listen to classical music which surprisingly helps me,” said sophomore Maxwell Westner.

Looking over the same material for a long period of time can be very strenuous and gets boring. That’s why it’s important to take short breaks and alternate between the topics you are studying. For example, instead of spending an entire hour on English, spend a half hour on it and then switch to a different subject such as history or Spanish for a half hour. You can return to looking over the English work later on.

The night before final exams is the most critical night for sleep. Being well rested with at least eight to ten hours of sleep contributes to a more successful grade.

According to a study from Florida International University, sleep deprivation can drastically affect academic performance so being well-rested is a must.

Studying techniques are also great ways to get prepared. Making flashcards is very helpful. Writing down the answers allows it to stick in your brain and using the flashcards reinforces that information.

“Try studying with other people,” said Hart. “If you don’t remember or understand something, you might have a friend who does.”

Forming study groups with friends can help greatly. Not only will it be more enjoyable, but you’ll be able to hear others’ thoughts and ideas instead of only your own.

Once finals are completed, it’s time for a fresh start as the second semester begins.  This means new classes with different people and different teachers; it’s like the first day of school all over again. Let’s make the start of the new semester a great one by getting through finals.