Solutions to stressful studying: Your tips for finals week

MacKenzie Stewart , News Editor

Left, junior Paige Ekstrom focuses on her AP Calculus homework in the Math Lab during second period.
Above, Math Lab Teacher Brett Sorby writes a problem on a board to further explain the concept to a student in second period. Sorby started teaching in the Math Lab when it first opened in January 2015. Sorby said,“The Math Lab is just a great place to be. I hope that students know they are always welcome.”

With finals approaching, stress levels can be high as many students try to cram studying into the last few days of the semester. From freshman level courses to AP classes, these study tips will help you to succeed and enjoy your winter break.

Use your resources: There are many resources to help you do well on your final exams. If you need math help, you should visit the Math Lab as it is open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. Math teachers staff the lab to answer all questions for any level of math class. The lab is located in B-145.

If you want someone to read over your English portfolio or essays, visit the Literacy Center before or after school to get help from Anna Grig or Hope Babowice, who staff the center, which is located in the back half of the Media Center.

“Students should go to any of our support centers…we have the Study Cafe, the Math Lab and the Literacy Center, and of course, they can talk to their teacher directly,” Babowice, Literacy Center Specialist, said.

Peer tutors are also available in the Math Lab, the Literacy Center and the Study Café (open during all lunch periods in the B-wing) to help students study, do homework and prepare for the first round of finals.

“The Literacy Center can help students prepare because we have Peer Tutors here who’ve taken the classes that they’ve taken,” Babowice said. “They can give them guidance on the most important things to make sure they [are] ready for the exams.”

The Literacy Center is also able to help with general studying organization and with other classes besides English.

“We have all the class textbooks, and if students haven’t had a chance to get organized, we’ve got binders, dividers [and] all of the organizing items they would need to keep their paperwork in good order,” Babowice explained.

If you are in AP or honors classes and need help, it is not too late to join the AP Mentorship program where specialized and experienced tutors are available in every subject.

“Finals is a tough time for students academically and mentally…so it really has a negative impact on students, and that’s why AP mentors are there to be that supporting team to help them get through any mental barriers and academic barriers,” said Erika Bugaring, senior president of the program.

Finally, for all freshmen interested in doing well on finals, make sure to come to Cocoa and Cram, organized by Link Crew. There will be food, therapy dogs and tutors available to help you study and de-stress.

Cocoa and Cram will be on Wednesday, Dec. 12, and Thursday, Dec. 13, after school until 4:30 p.m., and students will be able to catch the activities bus.

Go online for help: Although looking on the internet is not always reliable, there are websites and YouTube channels to help you prepare, especially if you are a visual learner.

For example, Khan Academy is a very comprehensive website, which provides in-depth videos on a variety of math, science, history, economics and computer classes. Khan Academy has both videos and mini quizzes to help you learn material at all levels.

If you are studying for a final for an AP class, a great resource is the College Board, where they have multiple choice and free responses questions from past AP exams. There are also many websites that provide their own multiple choice questions and class outlines, so make sure to search up your subject and check out some of the links.

Follow tips from the experts: If you are a freshman and don’t know how to prepare for your first round of finals, check out these helpful tips from seniors who have had four years of experience dealing with the stress of the three days before winter break.

   Q: What is the number one tip you would give to other students struggling to prepare for finals?

Bugaring: “Throughout your hours studying, you have to build in time to relax and take care of yourself. [For example], simple things, just watching a TV show or having dinner…block off some time…to take care of your mental and emotional health.”

Jillian Hoffstadt, senior: “Start studying early. I know it’s easy to say that it’s hard to do, but you just have to do it. And also…there’s more than one way to study notecards. You can put them in groups like four, three, two, one and then four is you know it really well, one is you really have to study it…or you can make different groups by mind mapping them and putting them together based on if the words go together.”

Q: What is the number one thing you recommend students NOT do to prepare?

Bugaring: “Don’t procrastinate… [and] don’t compare yourself to others. You’ll see people who say, ‘Oh, I got an A on the physics final; it was so easy,’ and then you struggled, [and] that makes you feel worse afterwards because you’re just waiting for your grade. So, don’t compare yourself.”