Before NDP students are released for winter break, they must close off their semester with finals week, a week of great stress and anxiety for students. Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for and ace your finals.

  1. Studying is a necessity: Just as for any other test, studying is the most effective way to prepare for finals. Studying for finals can be a daunting task considering almost all NDP students have six finals to take during finals week, but it is the only way to truly be prepared for finals. There are numerous ways to study for finals, and different methods work for different people; therefore, it is imperative that one finds what works best for them. 

NDP senior Yasmin Maurice said, “the best way for [her] to study is by compiling [her] assignments from the semester and reviewing past material,” but this is just one of many effective methods of study.

“I study until I know and understand all of the material we went over throughout the year.  This usually takes anywhere from four to eight hours per subject with a few breaks,” NDP senior Jessica Skemp said. 

NDP senior Hellenah Rosiek already starting to review her math notes for her final, which is a week away. Staff photo taken by Jarod Bogsinske on Dec. 12.

  1. DO NOT start studying the night before the test: You may be able to cram a chapter in the night before a normal test, but it is nearly impossible to cram a whole semester’s worth of knowledge for two classes in one night for three consecutive nights. 

While studying is important for finals, spacing out this studying is also crucial. NDP junior Kandace Kramer “[tries] to get [her] study guides done the week before finals so that the only thing [she has] to do during finals week is review.” By studying over a longer period of time, one is able to retain more information and ultimately do better on their finals.

NDP senior Kathryn Bastien tries to cram information for her calculus test next period. Staff photo taken by Jarod Bogsinske on Dec 12.

  1. Take breaks while studying: Studying can be exhausting, and studying for too long at once can cause one to lose his or her train of thought and become distracted easily. Giving one’s brain a rest intermittently while studying helps one to stay concentrated. 

NDP Senior Stefano D’Alonzo said“taking breaks while studying helps [him] stay focused on studying longer rather than getting sidetracked.” The longevity of these breaks will vary from person to person, but their effect stays. 

“I take five-minute study breaks every hour,” Maurice said. Kramer said, “I take a five minute break for every twenty or thirty minutes of studying I do.” Take breaks whenever you feel you need a stretch or mental break, but be sure to get back on track soon. 

NDP junior CJ Storey playing guitar with Mr. Powers as a study break to give his mind a rest from studying. Staff photo taken by Danielle Drake on Dec. 9, 2019.

  1. Prioritize time: Time management is one of the most important aspects of studying for finals. You have a limited amount of time to learn a lot of information, so you need to prioritize. 

Classes whose grades will be nearly impossible to change and classes whose finals you do not need to do well on should be placed on the back burner as you study for classes with a grade determined by the final. By prioritizing certain classes over others, it makes it easier to study for the classes that need it the most and ultimately raise their grades as much as possible.

NDP senior Katrina Schiffer looks over her planner in order to manage her time well. Staff photo taken by Danielle Drake on Dec. 12, 2019.

  1. Go to teachers a few days before finals start for help: Teachers are there to help you, but you need to reach out in advance. The night before a final, teachers are receiving countless emails from students with questions, so you will not be their top priority. “With how busy I already am during finals week, I don’t even look at student emails,” said AP Environmental Science teacher Kandi Wojtysiak. 

However, by reaching out beforehand you can have the complete attention of the teacher and get any questions answered before starting to study for a final. “I recommend my students come to me for help the week before or come to my study session so that I can help them with any issues before the finals begin,” said Wojtysiak.

NDP senior Megan Torrel talks to Mrs. Wojtysiak for help a week before her AP Environmental final. Staff photo taken by Andrew Sodhi on Dec. 11.

  1. Ask the teacher about the format of the test to make studying easier: The format of a final is a very important thing to know before studying. Checking with your teacher beforehand to know the format will help you in studying and knowing exactly what will be expected of you.

At NDP, most math, science, and social studies classes tend to be multiple choice only, with science classes having a lab final beforehand. Additionally, English, World Language, and Theology all tend to have both written and multiple choice sections with the written usually being during finals.

Photo of the Theology study guide, which is split into two parts to help students study and to explain the format. Staff photo taken by Jarod Bogsinske on Dec. 13.

  1. Get a study group together of people in your class: Two minds are greater than one, so bringing a group together to study for a final is something that can be incredibly helpful. “I like studying in groups because there may be something that you don’t understand or remember then someone else can quickly explain for you,” said Kramer. By studying together, students can go over more material faster and spend less time going back and reviewing since it is more likely that one student in the group will remember something than one person remembering everything that has been covered.

NDP seniors Douglas Kelham and Christopher Griffin study together for finals in the Comm. Staff photo taken by Danielle Drake on Dec. 10, 2019.

  1. Do the Theology study guide: While most study guides are important aspects of studying for a class, Theology study guides are essential to doing well on the test. Although they may seem daunting to complete, these study guides are very similar to what will be seen on the exam, and just filling them out is an adequate amount of studying. 

If it is not on the study guide, there is a good chance it will not be on the final. When Maurice studies for the Theology final, the only thing she does is “review the study guide.” 

NDP senior Vanessa Mati fills out her Theology study guide in advance to make studying the day of easier. Staff photo taken by Danielle Drake on Dec. 11.

  1. Quizlet is a great way to study: During finals week, Quizlet is a high school student’s best friend. Whether one makes their own or uses one from their peers, quizlets are a great tool for study. 

“My go-to study tool is definitely quizlet no matter what subject I am studying for.  Typing everything out and then having it there to go through over and over again really helps me understand and remember all of the information I am studying,” said Skemp.

NDP senior Shireen Sadeghi said, “I use my grade’s Quizlet class to find Quizlets for each of my classes.” This helps one save time and helps one get right to studying the information they need to know for their final.

NDP senior Karlie Perry scrolls through the NDP 2020 Quizlet class looking for quizlets to help her study for her finals. Staff photo taken by Jarod Bogsinske on Dec. 12.

  1. Drink caffeine and get plenty of sleep:

With the long hours you will be spending studying throughout finals week, it is important to give your body the fuel it needs to get through this. Getting adequate sleep is the best thing one can do for themselves during finals week. “I try to sleep at least eight to nine hours so I do not experience a lack of sleep,” said Maurice. 

When it is getting to the late hours of the morning, choosing sleep over continuing to study is actually the best option so that your brain can still retain all the information you have learned thus far. However, even with enough sleep, it can still be challenging to be as wide awake as possible; this is where caffeine comes in. 

D’Alonzo said, “[he] drinks black coffee for energy during finals” while Maurice said, “[she] tries to keep [her] caffeine consumption limited,” but still occasionally drinks green tea during finals week. With the combination of adequate sleep and a caffeine boost, one is sure to power through finals with ease. 

NDP senior Lauren Kobley starting off her day with a coffee and bagel to fuel her learning. Staff photo taken by Jarod Bogsinske on Dec. 13.