Finishing Strong!

All the hard work of the last 9 months should not be in vain.  Don’t lose your momentum now!  With final exams and projects looming, take the time to organize a study schedule that won’t disrupt the work you still have to do, but will also give you a head start to those final tests.  

AP students are taking exams early in May, but that does not mean that you won’t have to take a classroom final exam.  Use your AP study guide books as a tool to prepare for your graded exam in class. Review a little every day, so the amount of studying isn’t overwhelming.

That advice goes for students that are not taking AP classes as well.  With just 5 or 6 weeks left of school, now is the time to drag out the stack of old tests and quizzes you have been saving and start organizing.  The oldest material will require more review than the newest stuff, so start by looking at those tests first.  Write down any topics that you need to review in more depth and either take out old notebooks or start reading the textbook.  Just 15-20 minutes each night and some dedicated weekend time will crush that mountain into a molehill. 

And that is another key to finals preparation.  Do a little bit over a longer period of time.  Cramming a couple of days (or the night before!) will make you vulnerable to overthinking during the test.  When you have to rely on information that is stored in your short term memory only, rather than in your long term reserves, your mind can play tricks on you when you are under stress.  By ingesting the information in small doses over a few weeks, it is more likely that your brain will be able to recall that information accurately.

Finally, information recall and using that information to solve problems is the key to test taking.  Instead of just “looking at your notes”, take the time to write down key information.  Record yourself on your phone and listen to yourself say definitions or instructions.  Draw diagrams and pictures.  By interacting with the material using more than just your sense of sight, you create multiple pathways for the information to get into the brain–and that gives you many roads to get it out.  Your recall and application of the information will be better.

So, don’t let the end of the year tests and quizzes get you down.  Start now to prepare for tests that, yes, are several weeks away.  When the time comes, you will be glad you did.