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The Paly Voice

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Seven study tips to ace Winter finals

Freshman Jordan parker sits and the MAC and reviews his notes online as he eats a healthy snack. Photo by Aisha Chabane.
Freshman Jordan parker sits in the Media Arts Center reviewing his notes online while eating a healthy snack. Photo by Aisha Chabane.

Finals week is right around the corner and studying has commenced. Even though most of us have been through this before, it’s always useful to receive helpful reminders on how to deal with the upcoming week.

So, here is how you can hack finals week:

1.Use all your materials for studying:

Since finals are usually cumulative over the course of the semester, the key to success is reviewing old work. Be sure to dig out all your old papers and notes, especially those from the first few weeks of school and get ready to relearn the information. Looking over this older information is important because unlike unit tests, you have to remember a lot more content. Don’t fret, because even though you think you’ve forgotten most of the material, the information will come back quickly.

According to junior Nadia Leinhos, using a review sheet is really helpful.

“I think it [reviewing old notes] can be helpful, but I find it most helpful when it’s coupled with some sort of review sheet,” Leinhos said. 

2. Quiz yourself:

Once you have started reviewing material for your finals, one of the best ways to test your knowledge is to quiz yourself. This enhances learning and will put you in a similar situation to finals. A great resource is the flashcard app Quizlet because it saves paper and it is easier to carry around. However, writing down information is scientifically proven to help you learn better, so you could also use paper flashcards. If you want others to quiz you, you can also ask family and friends.

Sophomores Devin Ardeshna and Charlie Baldwin help each other study for their classes.
Sophomores Devin Ardeshna and Charlie Baldwin help each other study for their classes. Photo by Morgan Keller.

3. Talk to teachers:

Classes will most likely be reviewing for the final starting sometime this week. However, if there are still unanswered questions about the material or the test itself, don’t be afraid to individually ask or talk to your teachers for help or advice. Go in during Tutorial or make an appointment with them.

According to junior Georgina Wu, teachers are great at answering clarifying questions.

“Teachers are able to answer my questions,” Wu said. “It’s definitely better than asking a classmate because they know the material fully.”

4. Don’t cram the night before:

This is extremely important. Do not leave all your studying for the night before. Finals almost always cover the semester in its entirety, so it’s impossible to review everything in one night, no matter how quickly you look over the lessons. Trying to relearn all the information the night before never allows students to fully reabsorb all the information. Spreading out your studying material throughout the week or weekend before is the best way to cover all the material. You could either go over lessons multiple times or review a few sections of the class each day. You can also make yourself a schedule to plan out your study schedule in order to avoid saving everything for the last day.

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5. Take a break:

Yes, studying for finals is extremely important. However, don’t let the idea of finals week consume your entire life. It is essential to take breaks, go outside and have fun. Holing yourself in your room all day won’t always help you. Taking study breaks and getting your mind off the upcoming week is one of the best ways to destress. Go for a walk or watch an episode of your favorite TV show. That being said, don’t slack off the entire time. The most important thing is to balance the right amount of time between studying and taking breaks. Although you should be prepared for your tests, you should not stress over them too much. 

Senior Gabrielle Bains thinks that taking a break is extremely important for being mentally prepared for finals.

You should take lots of breaks so that you don’t get overstressed or overwhelmed or have anxiety,” Bains said.

6. Come to school with necessary materials:

Students are often so focused on their tests and the result is that they forget or don’t think about the important things that are necessary to get through finals week. Many only bring a drawstring bag because of the low amount of school supplies they need for finals. However, don’t forget to pack that bag with the right materials. Make sure to bring pencils and other materials your classes require. The most important thing, though, is to bring lots of water as well as a full lunch. Going hungry in the middle of a test can be very distracting.

Also, make sure you’re comfortable. Finals week is not a fashion show, so do not feel pressured to dress nicely during this week. However, there are two routes you could follow (check out a previous Voice article for finals fashion tips!): either wear sweats, hoodies or pajamas so that you’re as relaxed and comfortable as possible during the test, or you opt for nice clothes because it might give you a boost of confidence and thus help you perform better. So, whatever you think you would feel best in, set it out the night before and throw it on the morning of the test.

7. Come to school physically ready to take tests:

Getting a good night’s rest and eating a healthy breakfast are two of the best ways to be prepared for finals. Both are important for any regular school day, but on finals it is absolutely vital. Don’t give in to the temptation to study all night the day before one of the tests. Study during the day and go to bed at a reasonable time. You will be well rested for the testing period which will therefore allow you to focus fully on the testing without any distractions or tired minds. Eating a large breakfast is also essential. We’re told over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that especially applies to finals week. Don’t come to school hungry because that will mess with your mind and your ability to take tests.

Most importantly, do not stress out too much. In most cases, finals are not going to change your grade that much and at the end of the day, grades do not define you. Please make sure to take care of yourself and take breaks throughout this stressful time. Also, just remember that once finals are over, Winter Break begins.

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About the Contributors
Aisha Chabane, Author
Morgan Keller, Author

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