How to Prepare for your Finals


Mark Valgos (9th), Reporter

Finals. They’re on everybody’s mind, and everybody has at least some ideas of what is coming. But what many people don’t know is how to correctly prepare for finals and prepare to be successful at finals. Studying is one thing, but it takes a backseat to the mental cramming that normally takes hours and lasts about fifteen minutes. 


To be successful at finals you have to study, meaning get your information, and start slowly making sure that you have things learned. Cramming is just shoving everything in your brain and hoping you can accurately regurgitate it back onto a paper. News flash, that rarely works. If you feel that you’ve been learning well throughout the school year, then the studying portion of finals shouldn’t be a big deal at all, and you should’ve already learned pretty solidly what is going to be tested. 


However, this is where some people mess up. Lots of people who have already learned the correct information will go gangbusters cramming information, taking up all the available room in your brain with information that you may or may not already know. All this does is push out the information that you have learned, making it harder to pass your final. The final is the most important test of the semester – save for AP tests – so you must implement the correct studying strategies into your day-to-day life.


One thing that you can do is not wait until the last minute to do your studying. Guess what it is called when you try to memorize a semester’s worth of material in twenty minutes: cramming. That speed studying you’re doing, is exactly the problem. A better plan of attack is to study a little bit every day for the week or two leading up to finals, working hard to learn the material rather than just trying to memorize it.


This is the difference between people who never study and still pass with good grades and people who study for two hours the night before and fail. The people who had learned the actual information throughout the year do not need to study, whereas the people who studied the night before hadn’t solidly learned the material and are cramming the information hoping it stays memorized. It normally doesn’t.


That is the difference between learning and cramming, and a few little tricks that you can implement to learn all of the material before finals. 


Another thing that you can do is ask each of your teachers about the final that they are planning on assigning. If you know what information is being tested, you study for that. For example, if your class is doing a mock AP test as the final, then you can study for the same things that are on the AP test. In my classes that is reading comprehension, audio comprehension, and writing. Making it easy to study the correct information is imperative to passing the final.


And that is the difference between passing the final with minimal effort and failing finals after putting in hours of cramming. So all you have to do to pass your final is talk to your teachers and learn the information that will help you to pass the final. Again, cramming is not the best way to do this, but if you have to before a class then I guess it would be acceptable to read through your material one last time right before your final has to be taken.