Tips and Tricks to Get You Ready for Finals

Cole Tessitore, Staff Writer

   Finals typically means the end of a semester for most students, but for others it can mean the end of the world. Depending on the class and teacher, finals could run smoothly, but there are a number of ways things can go wrong and destroy your GPA…just kidding. But it is a lot better to go into finals with grades you are satisfied with or feeling fully prepared to save your grades and end strong. From studying and time management, to begging your teachers and hoping for the best, there are plenty of ways to make sure to end the semester with a bang and not a belly flop.

   Before you even start to prepare for finals, it is crucial to know what grade you have, how much finals are worth for each class, and what you need to get on the final to either keep the grade you have or improve your grade. Typically, the class syllabus will provide this information. Knowing how much finals are worth and what grade you need to get on the final can mean the difference between overworking yourself for each class and strategically pacing your studying habits. If you have a really high grade, or your grade won’t move down a letter grade regardless of what you get on the final, then congratulations — you can practically take the test blindfolded, but you should try.

   However, if your grade could go either way depending on what you get, you first need to figure out what score you can get on the final using a finals calculator website, or you can try asking your teacher what score you need. It would also be wise to make sure you don’t have any missing work, or if you do, see if you can do that work for partial credit if the teacher allows it. You can pretty much already pass or fail a final before you even start studying, depending on how well you did during the semester. Hopefully, you didn’t shoot yourself in the foot and slack all year and now have to get a one hundred and fifty percent just to pass the class. 

  The most obvious and most practical method to ensure you are ready for finals is studying, but how you study is as important as what you study. Ideally, if you know you have a final that’s a test, you want to start studying about that same time school resumes after winter break in order to give yourself plenty of time to refresh your memory and slowly familiarize with all the material. However, that most likely will not happen since that is such a long time before the actual final, so the second best thing is to start a week and a half before the test. According to Princeton Review, students should study in total for about eight to ten hours spread out over the course of a week so as to not overwork your brain too much in one day ( 

   Flashcards are a great way to memorize important vocabulary that you might find on the test and you can take them pretty much anywhere and get in more time to study. Study groups are also a helpful and fun way to study, and with the technology of FaceTime or Zoom, study groups are still possible during the pandemic. According to a website about education, study groups are a great interactive way to become more familiar with the material because conversations tend to stick out in our minds more than just reading quietly ( Without a doubt, studying with friends for finals  is highly recommended and it usually pays off. 

   Let’s say you don’t have a test, and instead you have a project or a presentation. Obviously, studying won’t do you any good, but you still have to know the material to get a good project grade. Make sure you know the project rubric like the back of your hand because you could do a really good project, but if it doesn’t meet the rubric requirements, then you did all the work for pretty much nothing. Presentations are common for finals as well, maybe less so this year since it would have to be on Zoom, but it could still be an option. Just like you would for any presentation, practice multiple times before you do it for the class. Or, since this year everything is on Zoom, if you are absolutely bombing your presentation, just pretend your internet is cutting out and freeze on camera. Once again, just kidding. Make sure you practice enough so you don’t have to stage your internet’s death.

   Just as there are things you should do to prepare for finals, there are a ton of things you shouldn’t do as well. Senior Honieh Hemati has taken plenty of finals, but she has a very odd studying habit: “I take a nap at midnight and wake up at three in the morning to finish studying and then go back to sleep at five,” explained Hemati. However, a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep is very important for feeling ready to take finals, and studying at unusual times of the night isn’t really recommended. Often a last resort, cramming is also a popular way to lessen the chances of doing well on your finals, as just one day or night is not nearly enough to properly absorb a whole semester of information. 

   Finals don’t have to be a big end-of-the-year nightmare if you prepare yourself well enough. Although you might have to spend a day or two working on a project, or spend an hour to take a multiple choice test, just know that finals are as much of a pain in the neck for the teachers that have to grade everything as they are for you.