How to Study for Finals

Are you ready? Finals are coming: December 19, third block and fourth block, and on December 20, first block and second block.

To prepare for finals, Kristen Quinton, Vista math department lead teacher, suggests going back over notes and old quizzes to see what you got wrong and what you need to work on. “[If I was a student] I would go back over old notes, review quizzes and assignments I was assessed on,” said Quinton. This is a great way to review for finals; your teachers have taught you everything you need to know, and now it is up to you to understand and apply it. If you don’t understand something, talk to your teacher; he or she may be able to explain it in a different way that you can understand.

Quinton also points out that there is CSF tutoring available to struggling students. The tutoring is free for any subject and takes place in the library. It is student-run and takes place in the library with groups studying the same subject, explaining and practically re-teaching problem sections.

Off campus, students can prepare to be on their best game for the tests. Students should eat a full, healthy breakfast, like oatmeal or eggs, and get enough sleep the night before the test. Actually, this goes for any activity; people need to be well-rested for big days.

Bring a snack for passing period; you can eat in between for extra brain food. Also, don’t forget to get fresh air. During passing period get away from everyone and just breathe. Large groups of people can be stressful.

Most importantly, prepare early. Don’t wait until the last minute to study for finals–know what subject matter your teachers are going to test, and make sure you understand it. If you don’t, CSF tutoring is your ticket to passing.

The website Khan Academy is a good way to review and study for finals, as well. It has videos for every subject, including math, with video practice and review.

Korrina Smith, another Vista math teacher, says that she makes cheat sheets for herself to prepare for finals. “I write down the important things that I need, like front and back on the paper, and I study that for a few days before finals,” she said.

Smith also stressed getting enough sleep the night before and all week, giving you an extra boost if you’re rested. (If most teachers are saying it, don’t you think it’s a great idea?) She also said to do a little light reading after waking up. “Read the newspaper, or something easy like that, to wake your brain up so you aren’t waking up and taking a test right away.” It’s never good to take a test cold.

If you’re panicking during the finals, pace yourself. See how much time you have left, then calculate the maximum minutes you can take on each question. Keep in mind that these tests were created to be taken in this amount of time, so it can work out if you budget your time wisely. Don’t spend too much time on one problem.

Of course, don’t forget to breathe. People have a tendency to get tense, thus causing their breathing to become restricted. A brain that lacks oxygen isn’t going to work as accurately or rapidly.

Finally, make sure you read the tests thoroughly. “Read the problem carefully,” said Smith. “I know students will miss the points because they didn’t read the question carefully enough.”

So, be sure to eat healthy breakfast and bring a snack to school. And listen to your favorite music before the test to calm your nerves. Make sure your brain is fully awake, and go in with a winning attitude.

You’ve got this.