Friday, May 30, 2014

Preparing for Final Exams

While the end of school is an exciting time for students, getting through final exams can be stressful. Regardless of how well your child does during the school year, prepping for finals is almost always a seemingly insurmountable task. Finals can also be a source of heightened anxiety given that they usually account for a significant portion of a student’s final grade. In order to avoid a stress-induced meltdown and many sleepless nights of cramming, here are a few tips that can help you and your child get a jump on preparing for finals in the coming weeks:

·         Break material up into manageable pieces. No good can come of opening a text book to page one and attempting to digest the entire thing in one sitting. You will not retain the information needed to pass your test, and you will absolutely stress yourself out in the process. Instead, try breaking up study material into smaller chunks, and tackle each bit one at a time. Oftentimes teachers will provide you with a study guide that helps with this tactic.

·         Make a list of things to review. Even if you don’t receive a study guide, you probably have some idea of what will be covered on the final. Go through your notes, textbook, and past assignments and make a basic list of everything that has been covered in class. This will serve as your guide to planning an effective study strategy.

·         NO CRAMMING. As already stated, cramming the night before an exam is counterproductive. Not only will you not retain the necessary information, but you will wear your brain out trying to remember too many things in too short a time. An exhausted, overworked student is useless come test day.

·         Be aware of important dates and deadlines. It’s a good idea to keep a calendar that lists when each final exam will take place. This will help inform your decisions of what to study for, and when. This is of course also useful for classes that require final papers or projects in lieu of an exam. Long-term assignments should be tackled just as you would a final test: carefully over time, broken up into manageable chunks.

·         Take final exams seriously! This sounds like a given, but finals are not to be taken lightly. They count for a large portion of a student’s final grade, and sometimes whether or not they pass the class at all. Make sure your child isn’t dismissing this as “just another test,” especially if they are new to the final exam experience.

·         Consider extra tutoring sessions. Regardless of whether or not your child is already working with a tutor, hiring one to help to prepare in the weeks before finals might be the best course of action. Tutors can help by giving their students individualized attention, as well as teaching them organization skills and test-taking strategies. Scheduled tutoring sessions will also guarantee that your child is devoting time to organized and effective preparation.


Final exams don’t have to mean weeks of excessive stress, sleepless nights, and emotional meltdowns. Getting an organized start and sticking to a plan of action will help your child feel more at ease, and hopefully will encourage good study habits in the years to come.

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