How to: study for winter finals

by Emily Abbott

No matter what grade you’re in, second trimester finals always seem to be the worst. With no promise of vacation looming after the tests, and with below freezing temperatures outside, the motivation to study is low. But whether you’re a first time freshman, a sophomore with a premature case of senioritis, or an upperclassman sick of these second tri finals, you still have to get through that upcoming dreaded week in March. Here’s how:

Step One: Ask for Advice   

Every final you’re about to take has already been taken by someone before you. So don’t be afraid to ask for advice, because how else is a freshman supposed to know that the World History final is just all the tests compiled together? Find someone who has already passed your course and ask him or her what they remember from the final. Even better, go straight to your teacher and ask what key things you should study.

Step Two: Cram

Let me be the first to tell you that, whoever said cramming the night before a test doesn’t help, was lying. Then again, everyone studies differently. At this point you probably know what works best for you; spending days reviewing, making note cards of every word the teacher ever said, waking up an hour before the final and glancing at notes, rereading the entire textbook the night before, or meeting with classmates to talk through the content are just a few options. Whatever you do, don’t freak out. Even if there’s only 8 hours before your Geometry final and you don’t know what a square is, there are plenty of ways you can learn the content fast. The simplest: watch YouTube videos. Google the subject you’re having trouble in and watch videos from teachers, tutors, other students, and experts; be sure to take notes as well. The content will stick in your memory and you’ll be ready to ace the final.

Last Step: Schedule your Time

Make sure you are prepared before you even begin studying. Think about your courses, and consider how much time you should budget for each class. Organize all of your notes, tests, and homework to study from before you begin looking at them. This will be more efficient, and will certainly help trigger your memory about things you learned in 2014. While studying, keep your cellphone far, far away, and turned off. Cell phones always seem to suck up 50% of studying time, so instead of having a distraction right by you, plan times to take breaks. Take coffee breaks, hot shower breaks, workout breaks, whatever you need to do; but try to keep them relatively short. Once finals are over, take a long nap!

Mid-winter finals are never fun, but we all somehow manage to get through. So ask for advice, study a ton, and budget your time well to be on the perfect track to an A. Good luck Mapes!

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