Study strategies for finals week


By writing it down, Leah Thompson (11) makes sure to remember the date of the prom.

Annie Zhang

As winter break quickly approaches, many Manual students are stressed preparing for semester finals and using that last chance to improve their grades. Here are some tips to help you prepare and utilize your study breaks at home and study halls wisely:


  1. The earlier you start, the better. Don’t wait–start studying a few days before each of your tests, and if your tests are going to be cumulative, review your toughest topics first.
  2. Stuck on your math homework? Use an online tool called Wolfram Alpha. This is where you can enter in the problem that you’re trying to solve, and it gives you a step-by-step process as well as the solution.
  3. Are you a visual learner? When you study, draw or look up pictures, charts, diagrams, etc. to help you memorize the information better.
  4. Grab a friend or another student from your class and teach them the information that will be on the final. Explaining it will help you memorize it better.
  5. Create flashcards to quiz yourself! If you’re memorizing vocab words or lots of simple facts and dates, Quizlet, an online tool that lets you create flashcards, is perfect for this. There’s also a chance that other people have created a flashcard set for your particular unit or textbook already, saving you time from having to create a flashcard set yourself.
  6. Switch it up. Don’t focus on the same subject for long periods of time–set a certain amount of time for reviewing one subject, then review for a different class afterward. This is a helpful way to stay focused and not burn out from just studying the same subject.
  7. Another way to quiz yourself is to answer the questions at the end of each chapter in your textbook. This way, you can effectively test what you’ve just read.
  8. If your teacher is holding review sessions after school, take advantage of them! Bring materials and ask questions. Sometimes, you may be surprised to find that it’s easier to learn from a teacher one-on-one than from learning in a huge classroom with 20 other students.
  9. Finally, if you’re still struggling, get together with a tutor or a group of friends and form a study group. However, if you choose to study with your friends, make sure you don’t get distracted and that you’re using your time productively.


  1. Eat healthy foods. Research has shown that those who incorporate enough fruit, vegetables, protein, and fiber in their diets have higher performance on tests. Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast before your finals–don’t skip!
  2. Try to stay active. According to the New York Times, exercise enhances your memory by stimulating the release of certain chemicals in your brain. Even something as simple as a short walk or jog would benefit you.
  3. Since your brain can only process a limited amount of information within a certain amount of time, you might find it helpful to take short breaks every now and then.
  4. If you’ve never tried it before, try listening to quiet, calming music (such as the sound of raindrops or ocean waves) while you’re studying and when you’re taking study breaks. You can use it to help calm yourself, drown out any noises surrounding you, and stay focused without getting too stressed.
  5. Finally, get some sleep. While this may seem obvious, it’s not as easy to retain and memorize information if you’re consistently pulling all-nighters.