Surviving Final Exams: The Do’s and Don’ts


As the end of the school year approaches, the excitement of summer break begins to grow. However, another event that approaches us at this time of the year is final exams. Here are the do’s and don’ts of final exam studying!


Do: Use efficient time management

Like other tests, preparation for finals exams is key, and proper preparation requires good time management. A great way to make sure you don’t run out of time to prepare following a daily study schedule to review for each of your exams. Bhuvana Alapati ’25 mentions that ahead of time, you can “break down the material into manageable sections and study one section at a time.” Studying knowing that you have an adequate amount of time to feel prepared is much better than rushing to review all at once!

Don’t: Wait until the night before an exam to study

There are many stressful experiences in life – one of these is sitting in your room in the middle of the night and hurriedly studying for an exam you feel completely unprepared for. In addition to reducing the quality of your study session, studying at 2 o’clock in the morning will also prevent you from getting the sleep you need to have energy to complete your exams. “Sleep also is always #1,” Julia DeFrances ’25 describes, “Reviewing and testing clicks better in my head if I can actually function.” Skip the late night cramming and focus on using your time wisely ahead of your exams!

Do: Use smart prioritization

With several final exams to prepare for, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed to study for them. However, prioritizing what most urgently needs to be reviewed can be a helpful way to reduce the feeling of drowning in information to study. Emma Bausch ’25 suggests, “I would recommend prioritizing which exams you focus on studying for at one time, so it doesn’t become too overwhelming. You can prioritize by hardest class to easter, first exam to last, or whatever makes sense to you.” Using prioritization to your advantage can allow you to point out which areas will be the most helpful for you to review for each class, as well as to consider which exam you will have to complete first.

Don’t: Feel as if you must study every last detail

It is important to remember that final exams are cumulative tests of second-semester classes, which means that the information you will be tested on has likely already been taught to you – you most likely have also had quizzes or tests on the majority of this information. Feeling that you must study minute detail you have learned this entire semester will only overwhelm you and potentially cause you to waste time reviewing material you already understand instead of focusing on the concepts you struggle with.

Do: Take breaks

While it is important to dedicate some of your time to uninterrupted, focused studying, taking breaks is also important. If you have been studying for a long period of time and feel that you are losing focus, it can be beneficial to take a short break to give yourself a “mental reset.” Breaks allow you to briefly divert your attention from your studying, which can help you continue your study session without feeling burnt out or completely exhausted.

Don’t: Force yourself to study for hours on end

You may believe, “The more time I study, the better I will do on my exams.” However, one must remember that the quality of one’s studying is also greatly important. “Don’t overexert your brain,” Hannah Goodwin ’25 says, “Take breaks and drink water.” Forcing yourself to study for a long period of time without breaks will likely cause you to feel tired, unmotivated, and also to lose focus as your study session goes on.


Extra Help

If you need extra help to prepare for your exams, such as clarifying confusing material or seeking additional practice, SHA is here for you! Here are some ways you can receive help as exams approach!

Reaching Out to Your Teachers

If anyone knows the material in your classes, it’s your teachers! If you are struggling with preparing for your finals or are in need of last-minute help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your teachers to set up a time when you can talk to them about your concerns.

Receiving NHS tutoring

Additionally, the members of SHA’s National Honor Society will be present the week of May 22-26 to tutor students in preparation for finals. The tutoring will be available during study periods and after school during this week. This is a great way for you to get help from a student who has already taken a class you are in. Hearing a fellow student’s insight and tips from their experiences taking your class can be extremely helpful!

Reviewing with Classmates

Remember that your class doesn’t consist of just you – there are plenty of students around you who are willing to help you if you are struggling! Forming study groups with people in your class and practicing your understanding of a class’s material by explaining it to someone else are only two of the ways you can prepare for finals with your fellow peers.


Last but not least…

Relax! Your finals are meant to be a culmination of what you have already learned this semester. If you have understood the material so far, you are likely in great shape for your final exams – but remember that reviewing the concepts studied in your classes (especially the ones you may have forgotten about) can greatly help you.

Good luck to everyone!