Friday, December 16, 2011

Final ExamTips

As we approach the end of the semester, final exams are common for students.  For some students, the thought of finals can cause great stress; for others, the final is simply “another test.”  In order to be as prepared as possible for a final exam, there are things a student can do to help increase the chances for success.
  • TIP #1:  Find out the entire schedule for your final exams.  Prepare a schedule of those exams so you can visualize what a single day will look like. 
  • TIP #2:  Find out from each of your teachers what kind of exam the “final” will be.  If it is a comprehensive final, you will have to show your understanding of material for the entire 18 weeks as opposed to a unit or chapter exam.  Find out what type of test format the teacher will use.  This information can and should be used to help determine needed study time for a respective test and approach to studying the material.  Studying for an essay test is different than studying for a multiple choice, true/false, or a fill in the blank test.  Most tests in high school are a bit of all formats. 
  • TIP #3:  If the teacher offers a study guide, take it! 
  • TIP #4:  If the teacher offers a review session, go to it! 
  • TIP #5:  Calculate your grade in a respective class prior to the final exam.  This information can be helpful in determining a particular score you may need to achieve to end the semester with a certain grade in the class.  This information may also prove beneficial in setting a realistic goal if you may not be able to earn the grade for which you had been hoping.
  • TIP #6: Get plenty of rest and divide study time into chunks.  Studying in blocks of 30 minutes is often more beneficial than longer periods of time as your brain need refreshing.  Get up, stretch, eat a snack and have a drink.  Then resume studying.  Try to stay away from heavy quantities of sugar.  Contrary to what most people believe, sugar can actually zap you of vital energy.
  • TIP #7:  On the day of the final, eat a light meal and drink water.  Drink water during the exam if possible.  Go light on the caffeine.  Be sure you have easy access to a timer of some sort, such as a watch.  It is unlikely you will be able to look at your cell phone during the exam to check the time, and you don’t want to use a device that may encourage you to lose focus.
  • TIP #8:  Have any test materials with you as you enter the testing room.  Do not anticipate a return trip to a locker.  As you are handed the test, review it in its entirety before beginning.  This will show you what you are facing. 
  • TIP #9:  Some students prefer to do the most difficult part of a test first; others prefer to answer the ones they know to help build confidence for the more difficult parts of the exam.  Identify what you prefer, but be sure to answer all questions.  If you skip around, don’t hand the test in until you have done a final check.
  • TIP #10:  Keep your eyes on the time.  Most tests have a time limit, even if it is simply a class period.
In the end, finishing a semester strong and going into the next semester on a positive note is a much more satisfying experience that culminates with a final exam score, and ultimately a semester grade, of which you can be proud.  Seems to me a little advanced planning can bring about a huge payoff.

Sources Cited:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Senior Year Calendar...2nd Semester

There is much to do in one's senior year of high school.  Transition to college can be challenging so the better organized one is in the senior year, the less stressful preparing for the transition to college will be.  Heed to the following as a guide for activities by the month.  Planning ahead is the key.

December:  Apply to selected colleges (usually 3 to 5).  Keep copies of all applications and other paperwork in a file folder. Check out the scholarship, available December 1, from US Bank at  Also, register for a last chance to take the ACT/SAT.

January:  Visit for information/application materials for Federal Student Aid.  Submit any forms to any college of serious interest.  Attend any financial aid night one's local high school usually holds at this time of the year.

February:  Complete and submit FAFSA forms (after one's parents have done taxes).  Continue searching for financial assistance, especially from local scholarships.

March:  Continue to search for scholarships/financial assistance.  Also keep on top of any forms that may come from college of interest.  keep copies of all forms.

April:  Make a final college decision if still needed.  Be sure any deposit is sent in to secure housing or tuition.  Complete any student loan information.

May:  Send thank you notes to teachers, counselors, ministers, coaches, and such who helped throughout the school year with college preparation (letters of reference, application materials and so forth).

June:  Secure a final transcript from the high school guidance office for yourself and have one sent to the college of choice.  This final transcript must be certified and sent from the school.  Enjoy the summer.  Work and play.  Save money for college materials needed to begin school.  Pay any final bills and/or fees to the college.

July:  Finalize any payments on outstanding college costs.

Source: Calendar for the College Bound Student.  US Bank, 2011.