AP tutors share tips on how to do your best these finals

William Fisher, Online Editor-In-Chief

   Finals for semester one are right around the corner. Finals for periods three, one, seven, and five will take place on Thursday, Dec. 22, and exams for periods four, two, eight, and six on Friday, Dec. 23. Whether you are a first time freshman or a seasoned senior, take these tips from AP Study Group leaders to get you the best grade this semester. 

   Starting to study as early as possible is key, as finals typically cover everything learned throughout the semester. 

   Tyler Bell, a senior who runs the writers workshop for Advanced Placement English Literature and Advanced Placement English Language stressed the importance of having a plan. “For the last two weeks of finals just make sure you have a schedule to plan out what you’re going to study and when you’re going to study it,” he emphasized.

   However the effectiveness of study sessions are lessened if you are distracted, tired, hungry or stressed.

   “I think that you can save a lot of stress about finals by setting firm priorities during study time. First of all, getting a good night’s sleep and eating breakfast are far more important than studying, so if you study so much that you’re sleep deprived, you only hurt yourself. During study sessions, I’d recommend putting away your phone,” said Senior Leila Moon, the AP tutor for A.P. U.S. Government. 

   “Make sure you take a deep breath and take breaks while you’re studying because it can be a lot,” stated Bell. 

   Kate Hill, junior and the AP tutor for A.P. U.S. History suggested, “Take things one step at a time instead of overwhelming yourself when studying for finals.”

   There are a variety of ways to review for finals, most classes provide study guides and many have you take notes throughout the semester which you can review. 

   “Reviewing your notes is important to succeed on final exams, but I think that the best thing you can do, especially for AP tests, is to look at old AP tests, quiz your friends and have them quiz you, and look at online practice questions on quiz sites. When the information is posed in the form of a question, you have to recall the information similarly to how you would on the actual final, unlike reviewing your notes and staring at and memorizing answers rotely.” stated Moon. 

   Many classes, especially social studies classes, need you to memorize large amounts of information throughout the semester which you have to recall on test day. 

   Moon stated, “Mnemonic devices are a lifesaver for rote memorization. For example, when memorizing the Federalist paper numbers and topics, I thought of Federalist 78 and imagined a group of 78 year old Supreme Court justices; then I remembered that Federalist 78 argued for life tenure to maintain judicial independence.”

   Hill expresses the importance of using your resources. She suggested that “if you need help with something, go to your teacher…always asking for help is always the way to do well.”

   However good studying means nothing if you fall apart on test day.

   “Make sure you have a good healthy breakfast, and get your eight hours or more of sleep because sleep can really do a lot for you…your attitude can do so much for your test taking,” said Bell. 

   Staying calm and collected during the actual test is also key, explained Moon: “I believe that a totally calm test taker knows that they have done everything that they can to prepare for the test while still living a balanced life. Everyone uses different strategies for the temporary waves of nerves that come before a test [such as breathing deeply and positive self talk], but I think the best way to ensure that you will be calm on the day of the test is to do what you can in advance so that you’re the most well prepared you can be when the test begins.”

   Refreshing your memory on topics the day of the test is also a good idea according to Hill, “I would review a little bit, scan through some things, go over some things that you still feel not as confident on, and just go for it. Don’t be afraid, you’ll do fine, there’s nothing to worry about.”