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The Final Days

Noah Alejo, Staff Writer

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Finals week is a stressful time for many. Many people freak out and stress over nothing. Most finals are 10% to 15% of your grade. Some others are much more, but none of them are more than 50% of your grade. So unless you get a whopping zero on your final, you should be fine. If that does not make you feel too good, then maybe some tips and tricks from fellow students and teachers will help to get rid of the dread.


Seniors have taken many finals over their time spent in high school. They have been around the block so they should know what works and what does not. Senior, Coleman Dueschle, had some things to say about finals,“ I think that a couple of finals are okay, but when you have a final in every class it is really hard to prepare.”


So what should you do if you have more than one big final on the same day? Prioritize. Find out what final you need to prepare for most and do that. There are just some classes that have easy finals, where teachers are not trying to make the final super difficult. If you have a grade that you do not like, or that is not that good, then you will probably want to study more for that final. Preparation is key for finals. If you do not prepare for them, you more likely than not will not do too well. If you do good on your final and you did not study, then good for you, but do not expect that to happen again, added Coleman on the topic of “People being unprepared for finals.”


For any freshman who is stressed out about doing their first high school finals, do not worry. As long as you study and prepare in any way that you can, you should do fine. Some students calculate the minimum score they need to pass with a D. I am not saying that is a good idea, but if you a very spooked out then this might help you calm down.

Every final I have ever taken has not been terribly hard. The first finals I ever took were the worst. It was a whole new ballgame and that threw me for a loop. First, the schedule is different so that messed with me. Second, there is a different vibe in the room. People make finals out to be this stressful process where you walk in sit down and take a test and then you leave and go to the next one. Finals do not have to be like that. You can relax about it if you do not know the answer to a question then come back to it. Statistically speaking, the most likely answer for a final is B. That is not to say that all the answers are B, but if you are stuck on a question and time is almost up, then guess B. Other than guessing, eliminating answers that you know are not correct also helps to narrow down your options. It is best to guess an answer to questions you do not know, rather than leaving them blank.


Finals are cumulative, but seem worse than they actually are. Julie Mitchell thinks finals are like a marathon. “You practice and you practice and you practice and you train for it, but then a couple weeks before if you just stop training you lose everything that you gained,” says Mitchell.    


That is a really good comparison. Many people, including myself, are guilty of this. After Thanksgiving break, work stops getting done and students stop paying attention in class, both of which are terrible habits to fall into. It is almost as if students think that because the semester is almost over, that they can just quit and be done. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. Once you get back from break, you should keep on trying as hard as you can to move forward, so that when finals arrive, you are not merely hoping to pass the class, but to conquer it!


Basically, the trick with finals is not getting stressed out. Do a little by little. A fellow senior at Erie said “Working with a friend to do study guides that are long and boring helps.”


That is an amazing tip and it is very true. No one wants to do a 30 or 50 question study guide alone. Having someone there to help you makes it easier and more fun. You could also have a study group; the more the merrier. If one of the people in the group does not know an answer to a question, then you might and vise versa. The classic phrase, “time flies when you are having fun” is a very true statement. So when you are doing a boring study guide, stop and ask a friend who is in your class if they want to work on it with you. It will go much more smoothly and it will be much more fun than sitting there wanting to stop and do something else.


What does not work with finals is trying to cram everything in the night before. If you want to try this, be my guest, but I assure you that you will regret this decision on the day of finals. Cramming simply does not work, and is an unwise decision. In advisory last week, Seniors got to meet with Freshmen and answer some questions that they had about finals. I do not know about every class, but the teacher in my class had the freshmen write down some of the answers. Those answers are great tips to use.


Some of the questions I heard were on the schedule, what we, as seniors, did to prepare, and why do we have finals. The schedule is a quirky thing. The first day of finals is the first three blocks; blocks one, two, and three. Day two is the next three blocks; blocks four, five, and six. And the last day of finals is blocks seven and eight. If you miss a final, you can schedule a time with that teacher to come take it. How Seniors prepare has already been addressed but a quick run over is that we study, sometimes with a friend or in a group. We try not to procrastinate until the night before a final, figure out what the minimum grade needed to pass the class, get enough sleep, and some people bring a snack for in between finals.


When asked about ways to prepare, Mitchell explained “Obviously if the teacher provides a study guide that is a great place to start, work on the study guide. Go back and look over any notes that you have taken is super helpful. I personally think it can be time-consuming, I like to rewrite things. Sometimes I write things in different colors.”


“Teachers are not that imaginative. We are giving you a study guide for a reason. Chances are, there is going to be some stuff that is on the study guide that are not on the final exam because those are the highlights that we pick to tell you do not forget look at this; make sure you know this,” explained Mitchell.


If you only take away one thing from this, it is that the best way to prepare for finals is to study. There are no secret tricks to it, and it is not as if there is a special hat that when you put on you immediately know 90% of all the answers. If there was, I would be making use of it, but sadly, no such hat exists. So for all of the freshmen who are freaked out, do not worry. As long as you study and prepare for finals, you should do fine. Upperclassmen have been around the block a few times, so they know what works for them and what does not work. Underclassmen are for the most part still trying to figure that out, however, finals are stressful for all grades.


So those are some tip and tricks about finals. Finals are not as glamorous as one would like, but this is the truth. Studying is the best way to prepare and not quitting after Thanksgiving break helps with that. You know what you know, and that will not change, but studying will help a good bit. Finals may be unpleasant, and but you have to take them so go out and study for them. Getting a good night sleep before finals will also help.



2 Responses to “The Final Days”

  1. Korie Gallagher on December 15th, 2017 3:04 pm

    I really liked how this article focuses on finals and students should really worry about. I feel like you had fun writing this and it shows through the text.


  2. Alex Van Brocklin on December 16th, 2017 10:31 am

    I think this article is really well written and puts a good perspective about how finals are, and what to do to prepare.


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