Tips for handling finals

Editorial note: Liana Harris ’19 has survived four years of exams at St. John’s College High School, and she has five tips for how to handle next week.

As summer approaches, the last thing that any student wants to do is study for their final exams. Unless you are a senior and exempt, there is no way to avoid them. Here are some helpful tips on how to make your finals go as well as possible without stressing too much:

  1. Space out your studying. It is 100% necessary to take study breaks as you prepare. If you don’t do so, you may find yourself overwhelmed with course material and wasting energy trying to focus instead of thoroughly preparing. There is plenty of time at the end of each exam day. As long as you focus when you do study, there’s nothing wrong with taking your mind off of them for a bit.
  2. Manage your time wisely. You could be taking up to seven final exams. That is a lot of information to study in a variety of different areas. Therefore, you are going to have to choose which topics within each course are most important for you to go over. If you cannot re-read every page of the textbook, that is OK. But do make sure to cover the topics that you find the most challenging, even if those require the most effort.
  3. Use the resources that work for you. If you prefer going over your notes, go over them. If you like using Quizlet or flash cards, use them. If you work best with others, form a study group. Only you know how to best prepare for these exams, so do not waste time or energy studying in ways that don’t suit you.
  4. Calculate the test score that you need to get the final grade that you want. Merely knowing that number can further motivate you to study and help manage your time and energy. There are plenty of websites that can do it for you, just make sure you know your quarter grades before PowerSchool shuts down.
  5. Be confident and relax. Remember that these tests are only 10 percent of your final grade. They are very important, but they will not ruin your life if you don’t let them. You are almost done with school, so just push through that last week and do your very best. Having the right attitude will go a long way.
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