Strategies to Help You Succeed During Finals

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Strategies to Help You Succeed During Finals

Alexa Williams

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With finals swiftly approaching, many students at Middleton High School find themselves swamped with schoolwork and exams. In the pressure-cooker climate that so often accompanies the last few weeks of school, it is essential to develop proper coping mechanisms and study habits to deal with the stress of finals.


Here are eight ways to help you succeed during finals week:


Understand What’s Expected of You

Dismissing the details is easy, so step back and take a moment to review what is being tested. This will save you time that would otherwise be spent reviewing content that doesn’t affect your final grade. Study guides provided in class can be an exceptional resource, and when in doubt, ask your teachers.

It’s also helpful to understand what you must score on each exam to achieve the semester grade you desire. Not only can this indicate which finals you should focus more on, but it can also relieve stress. After all, why spend an entire night on the final you only need a 40% on when you could be focusing on six others?


Get Organized

As well as getting caught up in meaningless details, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork, documents, and notes that were provided throughout the year. One way to minimize this is to organize your notes. This doesn’t necessarily mean rewriting all of your notes; it can be as simple as setting aside those that will be useful.

Cleaning up your study space can also go a long way in relieving stress. Clutter can not only provide unwanted distraction and anxiety, but it can lead to losing a little more than your train of thought.


Manage Your Time So You’re Actually Focusing

The old saying of quality versus quantity applies to study habits, too. When studying for finals, it’s important to make sure that you’re focused the whole time you’re reviewing. If you find yourself getting distracted, take a break, and come back later when you’re properly focused.

If you’re someone who plans out their study schedule, plan to study in bursts of 20-30 minutes, with short breaks.


Utilize Resources

Resources such as ASR and study hall are notoriously underutilized by Middleton High School students; however, they are a built-in resource for students to be able to get help from teachers, and during finals, they are the best way to resolve urgent questions and confusion.


Shut Down Social Media

Despite its increasing importance in our lives, social media can be a major distraction, especially when studying. Consequently, it is beneficial to shut down social media when studying. This reduces possible distractions, allowing you to focus on studying and schoolwork.



Social interaction is an invaluable resource when studying. Talking through information aloud, studying in groups, and getting clarification on difficult subject matters can be highly impactful in the studying process and can help reduce feelings of anxiety.


Get More Sleep

According to a recent poll by Stanford Medical School, 87% of U.S. high school students obtain less than the recommended 10 hours of sleep. However, around finals, it is especially crucial that you get the suggested amount of sleep. Effects of sleep deprivation can include difficulty concentrating, impaired performance, reduced memory processing and recall, disorganization, and poor prioritization.


Eat More Healthy Food

While preoccupied with studying and schoolwork, it’s easy to forget to eat — especially healthfully. Eating at least two healthy meals a day will reduce test anxiety, confusion, and concentration difficulties.


Even implementing a few of these strategies will help you to be successful during finals. Smart studying, sleeping more, and eating healthy go a long way in improving test performance. 

Above all, remember to do what works for you, and you will do well. Good luck on your finals, Middleton High School!