Finals: Tips on How to be Mentally and Academically Prepared

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Finals are a universally stressful thing and we all have different ways of preparing, utilizing and coping with them and the anxiety they bring. We are told year after year that we will find our own study habits and stress relievers, but sometimes those can be difficult to come up with on our own. To get some helpful tips and methods I talked to seniors Isabel O’Connor and Sahanya Bhaktaram, as well as junior Hayes Sullivan on what works for them.

What are some organization, mindset or study tips for finals that you would recommend?

Isabel O’Connor: “Do not get overwhelmed, because most of the material you are reviewing is REVIEW. You’ve mastered it before for tests or quizzes, you can do that again. Also, getting stressed really just wastes time. So, instead of working yourself up, use that brain space to layout all your materials and organize what concepts you need to cover to set up a study schedule. The sooner you start, the better, and that way you can study a little bit every day.”

Hayes Sullivan: “I would have to say that sleep, eating, and organization are great ways to prepare for finals. Make sure to get lots of sleep the night before. You have to do your best to eat healthy even though it’s not very easy, and make sure you organize all of your work and notes from the year before you start studying.”

Sahanya Bhaktaram: “I am a huge believer of study groups (small groups, no more than 4 people) and I don’t like to study at home. When I’m studying in my room for big assessments, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed and then I’ll get in my head and get off track. I like to study with people because you can encourage each other, get help, quiz, and stay focused because you’re held accountable. It’s very important to pick a good group and just be smart about it since we all know who we’re going to actually be productive with, and who will distract us. If you don’t believe you can get a good grade, odds are you will talk yourself out of trying. There’s always a chance of doing better than you think you will. Also get sleep and eat healthy meals!!! I know that late night cramming is inevitable but at a certain point, studying late becomes inefficient and you just tire out your brain.”

In addition to the mental side, do you have any special flashcards or ways you study differently for specific subjects?

Isabel O’Connor: “[To study] for math I do practice problems. For English and all languages I draw out idea and concept maps. [Finally] for science I do kahoot!”

Hayes Sullivan: “For math I usually look at notes and quizzes, [but for a subject] like geometry I would do quizlet. History and languages are definitely a quizlet/flash card [system]. [For] science it is work out problems and notes.”

Sahanya Bhaktaram: “My tip would be breaking up the studying. For English, I just make a study guide with a list of the books, and then write a short character summary of each one with themes to jog my memory. If your teacher has given you an idea of what the prompt will be, then go ahead and try to group works together and even make a broad outline that you can work around. For topics that require a lot of memorization, I have to get a study buddy. I like to just go through the notes in sections and quiz the person I’m studying with every 2-3 pages of notes.”

It is inevitable to stress out over finals at some point in the last few weeks of school, but with healthy mindsets and proper preparation like these examples here, hopefully not all your time will be consumed with anxiety. Also remember it’s a good idea to take important study breaks in order not to lose steam, or sleep for that matter, before test day! Good luck to everyone on their upcoming exams!!