Finals: A Survival Guide

Finals, the most dreaded time of the school year. Finals season is tense, stressful, and exhausting. What if I told you they didn’t have to be? With these study, meditation, and organizing tactics, finals don’t have to be so troublesome.

Studying for finals can get hectic, and with spring sports you can get crunched for time. With these 10 tips from FastWeb, studying will be efficient and worthwhile.

  1. Create your own study guide. I know it’s fun to collaborate with friends and divide the workload, but it is harder to retain information that you didn’t write and understand.
  2. Ask for help. It’s so easy to do and every teacher at PA wants to answer your questions.
  3. Start early. This will enable you to keep your mind clear and away from the worries of cramming. 
  4. Take breaks. Use the Pomodoro Technique to make your studying tolerable. I find that 20 minutes is too short to be productive, so I study for about an hour or until I get tired of studying before I take a break. You can adjust as you feel fit.
  5. Sleep! Everyone is told to but no one ever follows this simple but effective tip. Sleep is an absolute must.

    Not you if you follow these tips
  6. Make a study schedule. It makes everything so much easier if you have a schedule to follow. Sometimes when you don’t know where to start, a schedule will help you figure out your starting point and will keep you productive. Senior Clare Delmore agrees, “Start studying for the bigger tests a couple days before. Plan out what you should study each night and then keep to that schedule. There is no need to start more than a week in advance.”
  7. Teach someone else the material. This method of studying is extremely efficient. By teaching one person and helping them understand material, you also get the benefit of reinforcing the information you already know.
  8. Switch up the subject. By switching the subject that you are studying every so often, you won’t burn yourself out and give up.

Dr. Jeff Biebighauser, a literature and Latin teacher at PA, believes that “a well-written final shouldn’t require a whole lot of studying, especially in the weeks before the exam.  Students have been working hard all semester. They should be able to trust that their acquired knowledge will carry them through.”

 Clearing your mind is very important for focus in studying and in taking the actual exam. Using meditation, you can achieve more in an efficient way. Benefits of meditation include:

  1. Lower heart rate
  2. Less perspiration
  3. Slower respiratory rate
  4. Less anxiety
  5. More feelings of well-being
  6. Less stress
  7. Deeper relaxation

Dr. Biebighauser is also a “big believer in a breathing exercise called ‘square breathing.’  Count to four as you’re filling your lungs, hold that breath for a four-count, breathe out for a four-count, rest for a four-count, repeat.  This can be psychologically and spiritually centering, and it lowers physiological indicators of stress too.” He continues, “hydration is also really good for you.  In order of helpfulness, breathing > water > tea > studying > coffee > soda > thoughts about college admissions.”

As you can see, many or all of these benefits from meditation are extremely useful for studying and taking finals. Five apps that help guide and teach meditation are:

  1. 10% Happier
  2. Calm
  3. Headspace
  4. Simple Habit
  5. OMG I can meditate

Using an app guides your meditation, giving you an idea of what you should be doing, instead of blindly trying to make up a meditation on your own.

Finally, organization skills are key. A messy and cluttered study area will waste time and leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. Organizing materials, the space itself, and the desk will make it easier to find study materials and to know when assignments are due. An article from WikiHow gives a great guide to keeping your study space a focused environment. 

Remnants of senior studying

Studying for finals this year will be a breeze with these tips. Keeping a clear head and your area organized is important for studying and peace of mind. Get some sleep and get studying!

General tips for finals

More helpful apps for finals

One Reply to “Finals: A Survival Guide”

  1. What a great article! I’m going to show it to my fifth grader and second grader because if someone in upper school says it, it’s way cooler than Mom! Thanks for the tips!

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