Taking Those Dreaded Finals
By Dr. Ene-Kaja Chippendale
Final exams are coming up, and doing well on them puts students–especially those in high school– under a lot of pressure. Exams can make or break grades, and seniors know that colleges will be eyeing their first semester grades with great interest.
Happy is the student who gets a take-home test or who are asked to complete a project for the final assignment. Alas, many students still have to face those multiple choice or essay questions. Having to review an entire semester’s work only adds to the stress.
What to do?
First, use the study guide that most teachers provide to structure your notes, and make sure you have every answer filled in.
Break your study time into small units of 35 to 45 minutes per session over several days–avoid multi-hour cramming. It usually does not work.
- As you begin the test, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you have studied–and you are ready. A few tips can help you stay focused and guide you to the correct answers
- Jot down key terms and formulas that you think you will need but fear you will forget.
- KEY!! Read the instructions carefully, and underline key words. Make sure you really understand what the directions are asking for. Don’t rush.
- Quickly look at the test and answer the shortest and/or easiest questions first.
- Do NOT skim questions–read them carefully and ALWAYS read to the end of each question.
- On multiple choice tests, remember that if one word in the answer is wrong, the answer is wrong. Cross it off.
- Budget your time and do not spend too long on any question. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to read a question more than twice, skip it and move on. Timing is critical in many tests.
- DO NOT SECOND GUESS yourself–stay with your original answer. Only change it if you are absolutely sure you made a mistake. Otherwise, you are likely to change a correct answer–not good!
- Fill in all your answers (unless there is a penalty for incorrect answers), even if you have to guess. You never know–your brain can work in mysterious ways!