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Advice From a Senior: How to Survive Finals Week

Anna Constantino, Executive Editor in Chief

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Final exams at Corona del Mar High are looming on the horizon, which for many of us results in a similar scenario: cramming material, pulling all-nighters, practically camping out at the library, and using the RogerHub grade calculator a few too many times. Whether you’re a ‘finals week veteran’ or approaching this week for the first time, it can be a stressful experience for all. Being a senior does not make final exams any easier–just slightly more bearable. With these tips and tricks, hopefully you will feel more confident and prepared to tackle this wild week.

 

#1: Sleep is NOT for the Weak

 

The typical high school and college cliché revolves around pulling all-nighters before big exams in effort to cram the fifteen chapters that haven’t been touched all semester. While this may seem like an effective way to squeeze all of the information into your head, it truly isn’t–trust me.

 

Several things can happen when you pull an all-nighter, or stay up until the early hours of 3am:

 

-It is likely that you will not remember a majority of the material you skimmed over.

-Your ability to focus and recall information that you did previously learn will be extremely clouded by the fact that you got no sleep.

-You may feel sick the next day, and you will jeopardize your physical and mental health for the days to follow.

 

Bottom line: sleep deprivation will do more harm than good. Please, go to bed.

 

#2: Motivate Yourself to Get a Head-start

 

I know–studying for your finals a week before the actual test seems dreary. Just the thought of it can be extremely discouraging. But when it comes to a class that you know you’re going to need to put extra hours in for, starting early will save you in the long run.

 

My best suggestion would be to study a little bit everyday, starting with older chapters that you covered at the beginning of the year, and working your way towards the most recent. Even thirty minutes of reading or going over flashcards each day leading up to your test can be an immense help in remembering content. While thirty minutes per day may seem like a lot, just think about how many hours you spend on your phone per day–you can definitely sacrifice half an hour to pulling your grades up.

 

#3: Create Your Own Study Guides

 

This tip is one of my personal favorites, because it is something that I have found to be effective not only for final exams, but for chapter tests that I take throughout the year as well. The wonderful thing about creating your own study guide is that you can focus in on topics and concepts that you find particularly puzzling or difficult, and test yourself on the things you personally need a refresher on.

 

There are several ways to go about creating your own study guide. There is no wrong way to do so, but I will share some of the ways I have made my own ‘study guides’ in the past:

 

-Creating a study packet: compiling old notes, worksheets, and practice tests into one big packet, where you can work on the topics as a consolidated whole.

-Writing your own (by hand for bonus points*): create a comprehensive study guide filled with facts, vocabulary, questions, or all of the above. Categorize your content by chapter, concept, or importance in regards to your personal needs.

*Writing things down by hand has been psychologically proven to increase the likelihood of you remembering it, as opposed to typing or reading it.

-Creating your own Quizlet: creating a study guide of content through Quizlet is an amazing study tool, because it allows you to go over content in a variety of ways that is effective for studying facts and memorizing vocabulary (www.quizlet.com).

 

Of course, you should definitely complete the study guide that your teacher provides you with, as teachers often curate their study guides to have similar content as the final. But if you can find the time to map out your own guide, it may prove to be helpful.

 

#4: Reward Yourself

 

Don’t be afraid to take a break and give yourself the reward that you deserve. This is helpful in keeping motivation and the drive to study high. Create a system that works personally for you, giving yourself an honest reward after putting in true effort. This may take the form of treating yourself to ice cream after spending hours in the library, giving yourself a piece of chocolate after doing a set number of problems, or taking a refreshing walk after completing a study guide.

 

It is important that you establish these rewards before you begin studying so that you have something to look forward to once you’ve reached your checkpoint.

 

#5: Distraction-free Zone

 

It is important to study in a place where you will have little to no distractions. Personally, there is nothing more frustrating than having a train of thought interrupted by someone, or a loud noise. Put yourself in an environment that will minimize these distractions.

 

I highly suggest going to your local library and finding a quiet place where you can work on your materials. In my opinion, the library is one of the best places not only because it is free of most auditory and visual distractions, but because you are not tempted by the things or people around you. I find that when I study at the library, I am much more productive than when I study in my room, because in my room I will tend to find anything to distract myself with–you don’t have that option in the library!

 

Additionally, it is extremely important that you eliminate your phone from your study area. I suggest turning it on ‘do not disturb’ mode to eliminate notification distractions, placing it out of sight, or simply turning it off and putting it away for the duration of your study time.

 

I know what you’re thinking–this all sounds like a lot of work, time, and energy. And you’re right! You can either spend your time dwelling on how many things you need to study for, or you can just do it! Easier said than done, I understand. Hopefully these tips have inspired you to get on that grind.

 

Remember, only a few more weeks until the clean slate of second semester. You’ve got this!

 

Sincerely,

 

A CdM Senior

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Advice From a Senior: How to Survive Finals Week