The final countdown


Sarah Lashly

Using his Physics review guide, senior Brandon Eckhoff solves force problems.

The school year is coming to a close, summer is 10 days away, and on top of all of that, finals for underclassmen are right around the corner.

According to a Pathfinder survey, two thirds of students are stressed out about finals. For those who are panicking about finals, here are some tips from some students and teachers that may help ease your anxieties.

Pathfinder: Teachers, how would you recommend your students study for finals?

Kim Hanan-West, English teacher: “When I was in college, I would take a couple of chapters a night for a comprehensive exam, study those chapters until I completed the full course of study and then I would go back right before the final and review the most important parts. That really seemed to help the most.”

Colleen O’Toole, science teacher: “I am a big flashcard person. The actual act of making the flashcards is helpful because you physically have to write it out. Your brain is writing, thinking and seeing it at the same time. When I studied for finals, I would rewrite answers over and over again so they would stick in my head, things that I know I needed to remember.”

Students, how do you prepare for finals?

Maddie Noonan, junior: “I just study a lot because we have those little half days. I also make flashcards and study guides. I always take lots of breaks when I’m studying so that I’m not too overloaded with all of the information. Take it a section at a time, spend a half hour studying and then take a break.”

Brandon Eckhoff, senior: “I would say review your study guides and, review your notes. And a good way to stay on task would be to cut down on the music listening. For me, every time I listen to music I just get off task.”

Sarah Lashly
At lunch, junior Maddie Noonan prepares for her English III final exam.

How have your study habits changed over time?

Eckhoff: “I know the right things to study more than I did when I was a freshman. As a freshman, I would look through everything I had and I wouldn’t really learn anything from it. I would just try to remember everything. Now that I am a senior, I just look at the study guide. Usually the study guides are just like the tests.”

Noonan: “Freshmen year, I think I was a lot more stressed about finals, but [now] I have just become more experienced and know what to study and ask my teachers for help. It has also helped me with time management. As I got more used to taking finals, I learned how to prepare and I have also learned to cut down on unnecessary things, like stuff that I didn’t really need to study for finals that I studied anyway in the past.”  

What advice would you give to other students who are stressed out about finals?

Eckhoff: “It always seems like your grade-killer but it always ends up being okay. Usually kids that struggle with borderline grades (like a B to an A) are the hardest classes, but other than that it’s not too bad.

Emily Lovercheck, math teacher: “For the most part, they are cumulative, so it’s stuff that they know. They just need to go back and refresh their memory. It’s not anything new so they just need to take it one day at a time and don’t get overwhelmed.”

Jeff Chazen, history teacher: “Don’t stress, number one. Number two, the sooner you can start studying—you study in little chunks—that’s better than cramming and cramming, which never gets you anywhere except in trouble.”

Noonan: “Don’t stress—it will be fine. The more you stress, the worse your scores will be. If you just study and relax, it will be okay.”