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.

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