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How to Handle Final Exams

by Jacob P. | January 23rd, 2012 | Teen Perspective
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This week, my school is beginning the final exams for the first semester. At my high school, semester-long classes must have a final at the end and year-long classes must have a midterm at the end of the first semester and a final exam at the end of the second. Like some students, Seniors are exempt from midterm and final exams if they have a 90 or above in the class (except for AP classes). Some schools have this rule apply to other grades as well, but it only applies to seniors at my high school. This being said, as a sophomore I have to take the exams this year. When I wrote this (last weekend), I was halfway through them and thought I should share my thoughts on preparing for the exams.

  • Studying really depends on the individual. I would never tell anyone they have to study before a test, because I almost never study for anything. The only tests I have studied for since I entered high school are English and Spanish tests. So, instead, I will suggest that you consider your own capabilities and then decide if you need to study or not. No matter who you are, don’t embark on last minute cram sessions. Although I’m not going to be the biggest advocate for studying for weeks prior to the test, last minute cramming is equally as dumb. Your brain will need time to soak in the knowledge.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before. I am stressing the word try, because I know it can be hard to get one as a busy high school student. The night before my first day of finals, I got home at 10:30 from a wrestling meet. I didn’t fall asleep until midnight on that night. At the same time, if you don’t have important things to do, don’t stay up late for no reason.
  • Eat breakfast. First of all, note that I said eat breakfast, not eat a good breakfast. I personally don’t eat anything special on final days, I just eat whatever I usually eat. I always eat breakfast, but for those who don’t always, you should. It will help keep you focused and energized. If you don’t eat breakfast, you will be distracted by hunger. Also, be careful with energy drinks. Make sure whatever you drink won’t result in you crashing in the middle of the test.
  • Chew gum before or during the test. I personally chew a lot of gum, especially during test. Well, it seems to have paid off. According to WebMD, researchers have found that gum can help test scores: “In the study, researchers compared the effects of chewing gum before or during various testing situations in a group of about 80 undergraduate students. The results showed students who chewed gum for five minutes before a test performed better than those who didn’t. But the benefits of chewing gum were short-lived, lasting only about 15 to 20 minutes into the test.”

Whenever you (or your child) are preparing for finals, feel free to keep these tips in mind. Just don’t do a last minute cram session on these tips…

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