How to Survive Finals 101

The clock is ticking, the notes are piling, the sleep is lacking, the motivation is slipping… Spring finals are almost a week away, so here are 7 tips to do to prep for those nasty finals.

The school year is spiraling to an end, so now what? You guessed it. Our mortal enemy, final exams, awaits us. As it is the second semester of the year, students who take AP classes are exempt from finals for those classes. But the sad truth is that most, if not all, of us have a couple final exams to tackle.

Are you dusting off those notes you haven’t laid hands upon since the test you took on Chapter 5? Or are you going to cram all eight units the night before? Whichever path you decide to partake, here are some tips to at least have a not-so-bad week. May the odds be ever in your favor!


Fashion disaster? No problemo, rock that hobo look.

School is not a fashion show, especially during finals! Rock those baggy t-shirts, hoodies, and sweatpants. Honestly, you’re coming to school to ace your exam, not to impress. No need to look handsome for that one cute girl, or beautiful for that guy in your chemistry class. It’s important to be as comfortable as possible when you sit a test, especially for a whole hour and thirty minutes! Embrace your just-woke-up look!





You’ve heard this a thousand times, but you never listen. So let me tell you again. Don’t skip on breakfast. Don’t skip on breakfast. Have I mentioned, DON’T SKIP ON BREAKFAST? Seriously, you have no idea how much of a difference it makes. Especially if you’re taking an exam in the morning, there’s nothing better than to eat a delicious, filling meal to help increase your concentration. Eating breakfast will keep you awake, alert, and full. Aren’t you tired of hearing your stomach rumble in the dead silent classroom? Eat food that will keep your brain and body focused and fueled up! Blueprint recommends energizing food choices like bananas, almonds, fish, spinach, and broccoli. These dietary choices are protein-rich, and will lead to greater mental alertness.




Don’t even think about pulling an all-nighter…

Don’t even think about pulling an all nighter. This method rarely works, unless you’re some kind of nocturnal person. Sleeping at 3 A.M. before an important test will not only make you sleepy the following day, you’re testing performances will definitely be affected negatively. You may think the numerous cups of coffee you drink to force yourself awake will help. Nope! By morning, you’ll feel sleep, deprived, sick, and of course, exhausted. According to graduate students Paula Haynes and Bethany Christmann at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, memory neurons that work inside our brain convert short-term memory to long-term memory most effectively when a person is asleep. In short, cramming all night does not help. You still have a few days left, might as well start reviewing now before it’s too late!



“What do I need to study the most?”

If you’re a KISian, it’s most likely that you have at least a few finals you need to tackle. Take a look at the finals schedule. Most of us are likely to have more than one finals clashing on a single day, which means we have two tests back to back. Don’t be overwhelmed by this situation. It’s unfortunate, but it’s important to evaluate what you need to study for the most. You shouldn’t be spending time memorizing Chinese vocabulary words when you have a 99 in the class. Rather, you should be looking over the notes you took for that US History class you have a B+ in. The finals is only worth 15%, but it could still raise a B+ to an A-. Which means, it’s really important to make valid choices on what to study for more, and what less!




It’s quite annoying to stay glued to your desk for hours, staring at the same wall, sitting in the same position. The human brain usually needs at least fifteen minutes of rest after working for an hour, showing that our concentration doesn’t last as long as we think. This is especially the case if you’ve been in the same room for hours and hours. Take a look. You could be studying in a nearby cafe sipping on a smoothie, a public library, or even in your living room (just not on your bed or couch!). Consider the possibilities of where you can go. Just by simply switching where you study, more things come and stick into your brain.




Just do yo thang.

Are you an auditory learner, visual learner, neither, or both? By now, you should know how you learn the best. If you know you like listening to lectures, check out Crash Course on Youtube. Hank Green makes lecture videos about science, while his brother, John Green, makes lecture videos about history. They’re quick, simple, and great to watch right before finals. If learning from watching videos isn’t no your forte, try writing the facts over and over, making flash cards, or even just straight up reading the textbook again. Figure out how you study the best to perform your best during exams!




Studying alone can be pretty stressful, and quite frankly, boring. If you can no longer take it, grab a friend to study with. You can quiz each other, or even make study guides together. But be careful not to pick your loudest friend – you need someone who keeps you on track, and doesn’t distract you from memorizing those geometry theorems. Plus, you can always gain off of your friend’s knowledge! With the right study buddy, you can motivate each other, and survive this hellish week together!



Hey, but remember. Like I said before, finals count for only 15% of your overall grade. It’s unlikely that your perfect A will drop to an F (unless you don’t try at all). Relax, chill, and don’t overstress about the exams. If you’ve tried hard over the semester and maintained satisfying grades, you don’t have to worry about the finals at all. However, if you know you have to at least do some studying, take these tips into consideration and get that !


– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Header by Yunji Lee (’16)

The Rise of Twisted Misogyny

Recent news regarding a young woman’s death has especially caught people’s eyes, for its relation to gender-related issues.

On the night of May 17th, a woman in her 20s lost her life to man, in a noraebang located in SeoCho-dong, Seoul. The reason why this tragic incident raised a lot of media attention is that Kim, the perpetrator, claimed he intended to kill a random woman because ‘women ignored him’. The night after the murder, many people showed up at Gangnam station and commemorated the victim. The media then began to report on misogynistic implication behind this incident, as viewed by the numerous attendees of the ceremony. This surely led to a heated discussion. In response to their claims, some people advocated that it is unfair to generalize males and aggressively highlight gender issues.

(Chosun News)

As the self-proclaimed feminist groups like Megalia and Women’s Generation were involved in the event, the commemoration of the tragic victim tarnished into a big mess through a series of violence and controversies. In fact, the event itself is questionable of its intention because it was held by these very groups. For example, the ‘commemoration’ event entailed writing notes on post-its for the victim. Many of the notes had genuine messages from people. Some, however, incorporated the ideas raised by the aggressive feminist groups and fixed men on the safe and powerful side and women on the vulnerable and weak side. To those who posted contents involving a rather neutral perspective (i.e: promoting gender equality, hoping this does not cause division between men and women) were explicitly targeted for insults and humiliation.

(Chosun News)

According to the police reports and responses from various criminal experts in universities, the murderer was clinically ill and had been suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia derived from his personal trauma involving women. Therefore, the incident itself is rather distant from misogyny. The general public is currently following this notion and condemns the aggressive feminist groups who are encouraging divisive atmosphere, deteriorating the victim’s unfortunate death.

Of course, sexism is a prevailing problem in Korea, more serious than that of other developed countries (including categories outside crime). In fact, some statistics show that 52% of crimes committed targeted women, while 48% targeted men (Korean media recently reported on 90% of crimes targeting women but this is without any basis). Moreover, almost every sex-related crime is committed against females, and their genetic characteristics make them physically weaker beings. Unlike men, women actually feel fear when noticing an unknown presence while walking down a dark alley alone.

Perhaps, the lesson we can learn from this incident is that we should rethink about women’s position in our society, whether or not we developed certain prejudice that makes women susceptible to any type of discrimination and violence. Nonetheless, it is important we do not resort to extremist viewpoints, as displayed by some of the protestors at the commemoration event.

– Paul Jeon (’17)

Back to the Future: iPhone SE

Big phones may certainly be in, but Apple is making “compact” and “palm-friendly” the new cool. Several media analysts have duly reported that Apple has been working on a new 4-inch iPhone, its first device since the launch of the iPhone 5S in 2013. The company introduced the 4-inch iPhone SE on March 21, 2016, with the official launch following on March 31. Described as the “most powerful 4-inch iPhone ever,”, the iPhone SE features the design of the iPhone 5S with many of the internal components from the iPhone 6S, resulting in the latest and greatest mobile processor that is available in a smaller package than the previous model.

Basically, this time around, Apple did not come up with a new design for the smaller iPhone SE. Instead, they’ve recycled the old iPhone 5S model with multiple new components, which is basically reusing the same looks of a phone model three generations in a row. It’s definitely an odd move, witnessed for the first time in the technological industry.




First thing’s first –  the breakdown of the device. The new 4-inch iPhone is fundamentally a mixture of the iPhone 6 and 6S but in a body resembling an iPhone 5 (with the availability of the new rose gold color as well). The iPhone SE has the 4″ Retina display of the iPhone 5s, its first-generation Touch ID sensor, and an identical frame. However, in the internal aspect, it comes with the new Apple A9 chip with 2GB of RAM, the new 12MP main snapper, and a slightly bigger battery capacity.


These are the key advantages for the new iPhone:


  • 4″ 16M-color LED-backlit IPS LCD of 640 x 1136px resolution, 326ppi
  • Apple iOS 9
  • Dual-core 1.8 GHz Twister 64-bit CPU, PowerVR GT7600 GPU, 2GB of RAM, Apple A9 SoC
  • 12MP F/2.2 camera with True tone LED flash, phase detection auto focus, 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, @60fps and @120fps video recording, 720p video recording @120fps and 240fps
  • 1.2MP F/2.4 front-facing camera, HDR mode, 720p@30fps video
  • Comes in 16 and 64 GB of built-in storage
  • First-gen Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • 4G LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.2; Lightning port; GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS; NFC (Apple Pay only)
  • 1,624 mAh battery, Power saving mode


However, as usual, several disadvantages follow the phone as well:


  • No 3D Touch
  • No microSD slot
  • Lacks optical image stabilization
  • NFC functionality limited to Apple Pay
  • No wireless charging, an infrared port, or FM radio
  • No enhanced resistance to liquids or dust
  • No user-replaceable battery


Of course, these supposed limitations are a no-brainer to every Apple customers out in the world. Apple’s restrictions have been around for years, so they shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, although one can still capture Live Photos with the new model.




As for the meaning of the device’s name, Apple’s Phil Schiller told the mass that “SE” stands for “Special Edition”. Also, in the personal aspect, it is also an homage to the Macintosh SE.

In terms of the price, Apple is currently offering the iPhone SE in two compositions: 16GB of storage for USD $399 and 64GB of storage for $499. Also, it is planning to launched initially in countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US, with a plan to expand availability to additional countries starting in early April (hopefully Korea as well).

Critics have come up with two reasons to interpret this move, one being that Apple is trying to take the easy road. Basically, they have concluded that the company is striving toward the main goal of reusing an existing design to produce a lower, cost-effective iPhone without having to hurt margins. Another possible interpretation that they have come up with is that Apple is attempting to revive the much-anticipated iconic iPhone 5 design in an effort to appeal to a group of users who not only want a reasonably-priced alternative but would also prefer the smaller size. After all, about one-third of all Apple users are still using older 4-inch models, refusing to move on.

The verdict is out: iPhone SE has a nice nostalgic feeling of the past, back to the days of the smaller iPhones when they were dominating the smartphone market – its compact size and powerful hardware appreciated by many. Given the recycled design, it may hardly attract any new users to Apple’s platform, but will definitely cater to those who are stuck in the past to level and open up to the added features.


What do you think about the new iPhone design?



Varsity Swim Team’s Strong Performance at AISA

Alas, the 2015-2016 spring sports season is coming to a close. With this in mind, KIS Varsity Swim team has taken a step further to finishing the term with a solid performance at this year’s AISA (Association of International Schools in Asia) meet at Seoul International School, from April 15th to 16th. The team was consisted of 16 swimmers as point scorers with 8 girls and 8 boys selected from total 26 members. Along with SIS and SOIS (Senri Osaka International School), KIS pulled off a phenomenal competition, bringing home excellent results.


The 3 AISA teams of KIS, SIS, and SOIS


The 16 AISA swimmers were composed of Sarah Hong (10), Selena Kim (10), Hajung Lee (12), Hannah Lee (11), Seiyeon Park (11), Graisy Ra (9), Yonje Rhee (9), and Celine Yoon (9) from the girls team, and Sean Choi (10), Geo Han (11), Patrick Jung (10), Joonjae Kim (9), Keetae Kim (12), Junwon Lee (10), Ki Hwan Nam (12), and Jaehyeon Park (9) from the boys team.


The KIS Varsity Swim Team placed 2nd at the tournament with SIS placing 1st and SOIS in 3rd. However, surprisingly, the team was able to bring home the Team Sportsmanship Award this year, as SOIS had always claimed the title in the previous years. To add on to the wow factor, KIS swimmers broke 7 AISA records in total. First off, Celine Yoon, Selena Kim, Yonje Rhee and Sarah Hong set the new 200M medley relay record. Also, Sean Choi set the record in the 50M butterfly event. Last but not least, Yonje Rhee shocked everyone by setting records in the 200M Individual Medley, 50M and 100M butterfly, and 50M and 100M backstroke events – meaning new records for all the events she swam in. With this accomplishment, she was able to effortlessly claim the Top Female Swimmer Award as well.


Yonje’s outstanding achievement


When the record setters of the team were interviewed with a few questions, they all answered with similarly enthusiastic reactions and responses.


  1. How did you feel about the AISA meet in general?


“I am very honored and grateful that I broke so many AISA records last weekend. I owe a lot of my accomplishments to the KIS swim team with the other swim members pushing me to work harder at every practice. The upcoming meet, KAIAC, will be the final competition this season and I am looking forward to the results that we as a team bring back. I was really proud to have represented our school during this swimming season and as a freshman, I am excited for the next swimming seasons,” Yonje responded with vigor.


“The AISA meet was a terrific experience in my high school swimming career as I have never swum that many events in the span of two days. Regarding my preparations for that meet, I did not particularly train extra specially or anything,” Sean remarked.


“AISA was really exciting and a lot of team bonding was made. Despite the limited pool size, the environment made us feel more like a tight team which was great. It was also a great opportunity to meet swimmers from other schools,” Selena said.


  1. How did you feel about setting new records for AISA?


“I am very proud of our team for breaking the AISA girls medley relay record. I believe we deserved 1st place because we all trained hard enough to be rewarded with the title. Half of our medley team swimmers went to the sophomore Experiential Education trip and could not train for several days, which worried us that we would not be able to swim our best. However, we all did great with no major problems, and I am very happy for that,” replied Sarah.


“I was honestly really surprised when the girls medley relay broke the AISA record because we’ve never beaten the SIS medley relay team before. But when I found out we broke an AISA record I felt very proud of not only our medley team but of the coaches and the entire team because they always supported us,” Selena remarked.


“Breaking the AISA record came to me as a surprise as I was not expecting it for several reasons. The meet in general was an exhausting experience as I have never swam 7 different events in a single day. Also, I had to swim the 100M IM merely ten minutes prior to the next event. Basically, I was dying. Breaking the record was NOT one of my goals. But the 50M butterfly is one of the only events I feel confident in winning because the time gap I have in between second place has always been a significant amount,” Sean added.


  1. How are you preparing for this upcoming KAIAC (Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference)?


“One of my main goals for the KAIAC meet is to break the KAIAC record for the 50m butterfly (which I have a long way to go). I have definitely been preparing extra hard for this meet: strict workouts, hellish training, and lots and lots of eating and sleeping”, Sean claimed.


“We’re swimming very intensely these days, around 2 kilometers every practice. Our coach is also pushing us to sleep and eat a lot. As of right now, the hard practices make me hate swimming but I know that when we get our best times in KAIAC, we’ll love swimming (and the coaches) again,” replied Selena.


“This year was my first year participating in AISA as a freshman and I learned so many things there. It felt really good for me to swim as hard as I could in AISA since I had practiced hard every day, and AISA was finally the time to show off what the team had been practicing for. Setting a new record for the girls medley relay was surreal, and it made me so thankful that our hard work at practices had payed off. The past few weeks were all about preparing for KAIAC and even though the drills that we do can be extremely tiring at times, I know that it’ll be worth it once I get to swim in KAIAC. KAIAC is the last competition of the season, and although I’m pretty nervous, I push myself to be the best swimmer that I can be everyday so that I won’t regret anything in the team’s last competition of the season!” Celine answered with glee.


Team photo after meet, with the Team Sportsmanship Award


On the whole, the team’s sense of pride and spirit among each other heightened, and Mr. McClure, the Varsity Swim Team coach, was no exception.


“AISA in general was a really awesome meet with a fun format. Timewise, our team showed 2% improvement overall, and a lot of the swimmers decreased their previous records by at least 3 seconds. I also loved having Japan over, and just the whole idea of having three schools come along and swim together in such an exciting competition. What was most impressive was the Team Sportsmanship Award, which I personally think served as the whole school’s achievement. It proved that we have succeeded in accomplishing one of our school’s goals and raising our school’s reputation as a whole,” he responded passionately.


With a tightly packed training schedule and a determined mind to score, the Varsity Swim Team is ready to take on KAIAC and bring out the best results hopefully for a secure placing in the top 3’s. Afterall, swimming is a team sport, despite the many individualistic aspects.


– Ashley Kim (‘18)