Tips to prepare for finals


The standard bubble sheet lingers under a pencil, a common sight for many students preparing to take a test. Image licensed under Creative Commons CC0.

Liv Bohler and Anabel Magers

Midterms are coming up, and with them comes the stress of having to review content from up to eight classes. To help ease the load, here is some advice from experienced upperclassmen on how to make it through the end of the semester.

  1. Don’t wait

An obstacle that many upperclassmen put themselves through as freshmen and sophomores is limited time. Time management is vital to a successful finals week.

“I usually start about a week before and I’ll study for each in the order that I have them. If I have a class where I’m on the verge of a letter grade then I’ll study for that one first because it’s most important to me,” Emma Huang (11, MST) said.

An overall census of these students is that starting a week or two before the first test is ideal. But with testing approaching, more time than usual will need to be allotted purely for studying.

2. Be diligent

 With a heavy load of work ahead of you, don’t waste too much time studying for a test in a class that you have confidence in. Of course, still study for them, but prioritize your time to cater to your more difficult classes.

“I don’t really [study for midterms]. I only study for tests in the classes that I feel less confident in or need a better final grade to get an A. Most of the time I really just work on my work in class to prepare me for the tests,” Chloe Hord (12, MST) said.

3. Make a plan

For upperclassmen, midterms come in addition to preparing for the SAT, embarking on college visits and finalizing summer program options. It is crucial to balance your time according to what is on your plate. Even as a Freshmen, midterms are something that many have never experienced and therefore may come with the stress of experiencing a new, possibly grade-breaking task. In order to have the most efficient preparation, make a study plan that is specific to your other priorities.

“I’m shifting my schedule around to fit study time in and finding what works best for me. I have been building study environments to help me be more efficient,” Jason Maina (12, YPAS) said.

“As a junior, I think I was pretty overwhelmed by my schedule last year, so  I scheduled out study plans in advance and tried to spread out my work so I could be prepared. As a senior this year, it’s definitely harder with college apps, but I’m just trying to be efficient with my work and stay motivated to finish strong.” Elif Ozyurekoglu (12, MST) said.

4. Prioritize self-preparation 

Teachers do their best to prepare you for the test but in most classes, especially AP ones, they won’t hold your hand throughout the process. It is part of your job as a student to prepare as much as you can, even if that means finding additional resources on your own. If your teacher does not supply a study guide, make one. If there is not an organized tutor staying after school, create a study group. Adding on, the resources your teacher may provide may not be the best ones to help you review the content. In that case keep in mind that they are many alternatives that you can find online or even just by asking your teacher individually. Your education and how much you get out of it is in your own hands. 

“If my teacher doesn’t give us a study guide I go over my notes from class and make quizlets of all of the vocab words. But some of my teachers have us make study guides for every test so if I already have those I’ll just use those as my study material for class. Or if they give us a study guide for the midterm I’ll use my notes, worksheets and textbooks to gather information I need to fully fill that out. I also like to watch Crash Course videos if they are available,” Maddie Currie (12, J&C) said.