Relearning how to study for in-person finals


Lauren Guss and Krish Singh

   Wildcats are about to complete their first semester back on campus. This includes taking their first set of in-person finals since fall of 2019. 

   While the concept of finals has hardly changed, studying has. Students prepare for their exams in different ways depending on different environments. The transition to in-person school can be challenging. Returning back to “normal” demands for finals gives students the opportunity to use on-campus resources again, such as working in groups to study.

   Mr. Gimber, a counselor at West Ranch, thinks that students might not yet be ready to to study in groups., “Everyone’s comfort level with that might be different. And obviously you can still use Zoom, but knowing the pros and cons to doing any studying through Zoom, I know it presents some challenges,” Gimber explained.

   Some disadvantages of online learning, according to Montgomery College, are that learning online requires more time, independence, self-discipline, responsibility and active listening skills than in-person class. 

   This year, students must look back into their 2019 brains to remember how to be a successful finals-taker with the added pressure of taking tests with other students instead of being isolated in their room. Teachers are trying their best to give students the information and resources they need, but, ultimately, students must play a part in their own preparation. 

   “We can prepare them as much as we can by giving them the information and providing the practice needed, especially in math, but it is ultimately up to the students to take advantage of it all. It is a two way street, and both need to participate actively,” Mrs. Vargas, the West Ranch AP Statistics and Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry teacher, expressed. 

   A student can receive help not only from counselors and teachers, but also fellow peers. Different minds create different tactics for studying for finals, so one may be inspired to use others’ strategies in their own studying.

   Rahul Palani, a freshman at West Ranch, explained, “To prepare for finals I’m going to do some obvious methods such as going over previous tests and notes as well as studying the study guides. Yet I am also going to work closely together with my friends to help myself improve on topics I have trouble with. Using this method we’re able to work together and improve on ourselves.” 

   Not only are new study tactics formed each year, but others are reused due to their successful nature. To gain further insight, The Paw Print reached out to an experienced senior Dylan Roof. “I would suggest you study a lot more than you think you’re going to have to because, over the semester, you forget a lot of things,” Roof explained. “A lot of people think because they did well on some of the tests throughout the semester, that they’re going to do well on your final but that’s not true unless you take the time to review. ”

   It’s no secret that finals give stress and anxiety to many students. Palani added, “Although I am a little stressed about finals, I think I’m a little better off stress-wise than some of my peers. I feel better because I’ve prepared for finals and feel like I can do well.”

   Although finals are absolutely important, it is not as important as one’s mental health. Stress is particularly higher when finals season comes around, and taking steps for sufficient self care is an imperative priority, next to reviewing content.  

   “Schedule your time wisely, sleep, eat healthy, and reach out to your teachers and peers for any questions. If you can help someone else it will benefit them and you!” Mrs. Vargas emphasized.

   Roof offered some comforting thoughts for students. “Don’t over-stress it. At the end of the day, it’s just a number and it’s not really important in comparison to your mental health. In fact, over-stressing for finals will probably have the opposite effect and you might perform worse. As long as you put in the effort, you’ll be fine.”

   We believe in you, Cats! Anxiety may be high surrounding this upcoming week, but preparing properly will reduce last minute worries during winter finals. If you need more study tips, be sure to ask your counselors, teachers and other students for help.