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)

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