Finals: How to Survive

The holiday spirit is creeping into our hearts as our break approaches, however before we get our break, there’s one very important task students must do: finals. Although the concept is all the same, each subject’s final looks a little bit different. Here’s a heads up on what to expect during December 17th-19th.


Science finals can vary from class to class due to the wide range of topics. For example, anatomy has a large amount of memorization while chemistry and physics are more math oriented. Whatever class you have it’s best to start looking over a few weeks ahead of schedule.

  • Science finals are comprehensive on the information you learned all through first semester. It’s what you should leave the class knowing.
  • Most are multiple choice, unless you are taking a math oriented course. You can expect word problems or others that are not multiple choice.
  • Teachers will be handing out study guides, so the best thing you can do is use them. Fill them out or if the study guide is just objectives, look back on you tests or quizzes.
  • Mrs.Dueringer, anatomy teacher recommends getting together in groups of 3-4 outside of school to study. Especially for her class. 
  • Some classes have curved finals based on the teacher or how the class does as a whole.
  • A final could be anywhere from 10%-20% of your grade so make sure you prepare accordingly.


When getting ready for your math final, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Almost all of the math finals are multiple choice, however some higher level classes have a mixture with short answer as well.
  • When memorizing formulas, flash cards are the way to go.
  • Just staring at your work on past tests or quizzes will not help you. If you really want to do well actually rework the problems.
  • Make sure you have fresh or fully charged batteries in your calculator. You don’t want it to die in the middle of your test.
  • Don’t rush when you’re taking your final, that’s the best way to avoid silly mistakes.
  • If you’re unsure about your answer, the nice thing about math is you can rework the problem and plug your answer back in.
  • The percentage of your grade your final is of your semester or quarter grade depends on your teacher, so if curious the best thing to do is ask your teacher or look on the syllabus.


English finals vary greatly from class to class. Each teacher is doing something different so ask yours to make sure you know what exactly is on your final.

  • You’re most likely going have some vocabulary terms on your final, so to do your best in memorizing them, make flashcards or download the Quizlet application. If you have not heard of Quizlet you might want to check it out. This free app is available for both Android and iPhone users (as well as online). It makes virtual flashcards you can study anywhere as long as you have your phone and internet connection.
  • English finals are meant to show how much that we’ve learned something, so some things might be hard to study for because we’ve just went over it in class. Dedicating time to looking over notes could help you review some of the information you’ve forgot you’ve learned.
  • Some teachers will have students do socratic seminars or other public speaking activities. If you’re nervous about talking in front of other people, practice at home in front of parents or siblings to make your speech solid.
  • A good way to learn is actually by teaching or answering questions of other people. Coming up with your own questions and getting together with a few class mates could help you learn as well as helping your classmates learn as well.


  • Many history finals are multiple choice over flat facts, so making flashcards will help you memorize a lot of info in a relatively short amount of time.
  • Although flash cards may help you learn quickly, reviewing a little each night and focusing on the stuff you don’t know is key. Practicing the topics you already know is good to review but that’s the least you should be worried about.
  • Ask your teacher if your final will be cumulative or just over the last section you covered. This can vary from teacher to teacher.

Foreign Language

From Spanish to Japanese, you can expect a final similar to your other classes… except in a different language.

  • Some classes have presentations to give, so make sure you’re comfortable with speaking in front of the class and have spent some time practicing, especially in another language. You’re being tested over how well you pronounce the words too so have confidence in what you’re saying.
  • If there will be a listening portion on your final, be certain you know how things are supposed to sound (maybe not the way you’ve been saying them).
  • I’m sure you know by now that vocabulary means flashcards. Drawing pictures can even help on foreign language flashcards to help visually remember what the words mean.
  • Look through old notes or graded work to review sentence structures of your language.

Remember that finals can sometimes make or break a borderline grade. Take your time, prepare ahead of time, and make sure not to stress out too much. Cram and Cocoa can help you as well with a few teachers of most subjects being present on December 16th at 6:30. Don’t wait to study until it’s too late!