Ace your finals this year

Nine steps to exam success

Dont freak out about finals this semester. Stay organized and study a little bit each day.

Don’t freak out about finals this semester. Stay organized and study a little bit each day.

Rebecca Rusiecki, Editor-in-Chief

Before we can begin two wonderful weeks off of school, we have to muddle through three days of final exams. There’s no question that these tests can be stressful, whether you are a freshman taking finals for the first time, or an upperclassman getting ready to tackle them once more. But don’t worry! The Clarion is here to help you with our best tips for surviving final exams.

  • Before you even start studying, remind yourself that finals are not as bad as they seem. Remember all of that basic, easy material your class started with at the beginning of the year? Well, that will probably be a big part of the test. Keep in mind that finals, while important, are not necessarily going to make or break your academic career. If you’ve worked hard during the first semester, you won’t have much to worry about.
  • One of the keys to doing well on finals is organization. Think about how much you’ll need to study for each class and plan accordingly. It might be helpful to make a study guide for each class; make a checklist of all of the units your class covered and check each off once you feel you have a good understanding of the material. This not only helps you stay organized, but may also help you find what you need to focus on in each class and break studying into more manageable parts.
  • When you are studying for finals, it’s important to look at your studying techniques. Don’t just read over your notes again and again. Study with friends, do sample problems, talk yourself through the material—whatever you need to help yourself understand the material.
  • Seniors have it easier than underclassmen—many of them will be able to waive out of select finals. If you are waiving out of some of your finals, make sure you don’t neglect the ones that you are taking.
  • If there is one class that you are really stressed about, it might help you to go in and talk to that teacher. They can help you with anything you don’t understand. Also, make sure you know what to expect on each exam. Ask each of your teachers for a study guide to help you prepare.
  • Take advantage of the half days! This means you have more time to study if you need to.
  • Don’t over study. If you feel like you have a good understanding of the material, move on. Take a break from studying and do something to take your mind off of it. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before each day of finals.
  • You’ve probably heard this a lot, and it may seem kind of corny, but eat a healthy breakfast each day of finals. Remember, you’ll be taking tests for hours, and it can be very mentally exhausting. When you sit down to take an exam, don’t psyche yourself out. Tell yourself that you’ll do your best and that you have studied hard for it. If you come to a problem that you don’t know, give it your best guess and show any work that you can for partial credit.
  • If you are not happy with your grade, don’t let it get you down. Meet with your teacher to find out what you need to work on and how you can do better second semester.

Most importantly, always look on the bright side; finals means three half days in a row, followed by Winter Break! Remember that the fear of these exams is worse than the tests themselves. Work hard, follow these tips and you’ll have nothing to worry about when you sit down to take your finals. Good luck!