How to Prepare for Final Exams


Victoria Lopez, Staff Reporter

Finals are right around the corner with less than a week before the end of the semester. The pressure for students to bring up their grades is on. 

“I am pretty stressed, it’s a whole week before finals and I already spent all week doing homework in order to try to prepare,” Junior Elizabeth Strand said. 

Finals are occurring for first semester on January 22nd through the 24th and will last an hour and a half per exam. Exams for Hours 1, 3, and 6 will start at 8:30; hours 2, 4, and 7 will start at 10:20, and hours 0, 5, and 8 will start at 12:50.   

Like previous years students will have the opportunity to leave 75 minutes into the exam if they finish early, otherwise they will have to stay for the full 90 minutes. 

Wauwatosa West English Teacher Amanda Frazier advises students to ask questions before the exam.  

“I would recommend that first of all you have a firm grasp of what your teacher is requiring you to do! Ask as many questions as you can early on – then you can either study or make sure you a allotting the time required to complete it successfully,” Frazier said. 

Amanda Frazier teaches a variety of different English courses at West and explains there are multiple factors that teachers take into account when making a final exam. 

“In an English class you often taking less tests, and are writing for your summatives more often. It also depends on the content that you are testing your students on,” Amanda Frazier explained, “My Creative Writing class is compiling a portfolio of different poems, while my English 10 class will be doing an analysis of a Gothic text. There is no ONE way to make a final exam!” 

Another way that students can successfully prepare for their exams is through studying. 

“I would recommend actually studying and not just “winging it” like I have been for the past three years. Most of the time it turned out okay but some of the time it set me back in that class,” Senior Jacob Burgart said. 

A study done at Stanford University found that students who utilize their resources and actively studied outperformed those that did not by scoring an average of one-third of a letter grade higher in the class in comparison. 

“You could also try taking shorter notes, the shorter they are the more focused and precise you can make them. Finals are always a lot of work and it’s pretty stressful but you can make it easier on yourself by narrowing down what you have to study,” Junior Sheyla Cuevas said. 

Students can also prepare for exams is by utilizing and developing time management skills. 

“I would recommend, underclass especially, to manage your time well. Make sure to study during your free time between exams or open exams,” Burgart said. 

Students can do this by eliminating distractions and setting aside specific times to study the content required in their classes along with completing last minute homework before the finals.

It’s important for students to remember that while finals are an important part of the semester it generally will not make or break their grades as it is graded as another summative, rather than the traditional cumulative test. 

Frazier said, “Here at West, your “final exam” is just another summative grade used with the purpose of assessing your knowledge for that content area. SO DON’T STRESS. Prepare yourself the best you can, and breathe.”