Study tips for freshmen to prepare for finals


Ariana Teng studies for finals.  Photo by Paige Martin

It’s the last three weeks of the semester, and all of a sudden, your teachers seem to be cramming months worth of knowledge into just a few weeks.  It seems like you’re drowning in study guide after study guide and essay after essay.

  As finals week approaches, many students begin to reach peak level stress.  While upperclassmen may be used to this, for freshmen this might be a time of panic and confusion.

  The confusion may be about how to study and seemingly having too many classes to study for. However, studying isn’t just about cramming and trying to retain as much information as possible. It’s important to space out your learning and to find the method of studying that works best for you.

  Senior, Matthew Belle said, “I used to get really stressed during finals week, but sophomore year, I began to space out my studying instead of doing it all in one night.  What works best for me is making a quizlet of information that will be on the test, and giving myself a break every hour or two.”

   According to PrepScholar, it’s important to create a study schedule and follow it.  Getting into the habit of studying helps improve your concentration and mental endurance.  Over time, your ability to study will improve. It’s important to stick to the schedule despite not wanting to at the time, as it will make you more likely to do what you need to do without making excuses.  Set aside a certain amount of time to study each day. You can do it all in one chunk of time or split it up, depending on what works best for you.

  It is crucial that you do not study in your bed.  Studying in your bed ruins the line between work and rest.  It also can increase stress and insomnia, which can decrease your ability to study.  Study on a desk or a table, in a library, or anywhere that you wouldn’t sleep.

  Also according to PrepScholar, it helps if you rewrite things you have learned in your own words.  For classes where you will read a lot of information, pause after each paragraph, and without looking, write down what you have just read in your own words.  It may also help to make a bulleted list for essential information. Whether you choose to rewrite it in a paragraph or in a fragmented list, rewriting information is a valuable study tool.

  Another method of studying that has been proven to work is teaching someone the material you are studying, according to Fastweb.  Teaching someone else information reinforces what you’ve learned and can help others learn in the process. You can pair up with a study buddy and explain topics to each other.

  One more method of study to try out, according to The Best Colleges, is to use active recall.  Rather than reading and rereading a text book, close the book and recite what you know up to that point to practice long term memorization. According to a psychology teacher who published an article about this in 2009, reading and rereading leads students to believe they know more than they actually do because the information is right in front of them.  

 Kent Osborne, science teacher, said, “Make a plan and don’t wait until last minute. Don’t procrastinate.  Most of the finals will be a lot bigger than they were in middle school.”

Paige Martin, Staff reporter