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Expert Tutor’s Tips To Help You Ace Your Final Exams

By IvyWise Master Tutor

Many students will be taking semester-end finals exams this month and with holidays, and other testing dates for the ACT and SAT, students can find it hard to focus on these last tests before a nice break. So how can students best prep for their academic testing in December?

For many students, the end of term exams taking place in December can lead to a very stressful time. Whether it is preparing for the SAT or ACT, finishing college applications, participating in school sports, or planning for the holiday vacation, there are many things that compete for a student’s time during this busy and important portion of the school year. Below are some tips to help students ace their final exams this December.

Plan Ahead
Be aware of how you will be evaluated in each class, whether it is a final exam, essay assignment, or both. If it is not clear, make sure to ask your teacher for clarification. Often times teachers are still revising how they plan to evaluate students for end of year exams, so it’s important to follow up and get an accurate picture of what to expect. For courses such as Biology or History, it’s also important to understand how much material will be covered in the final exam. Will it cover material from the entire semester? Or just what you have covered since your last test? Make sure to follow up with your teachers and plan your study time ahead to ensure you’re preparing properly.

Make A Schedule And Keep It Balanced
Stay consistent with your final exam review and preparation. This may include making a multi-week study schedule for each of your upcoming exams, as well as SAT/ACT prep if you are taking those as well. It’s important to be realistic and leave yourself more time to prepare as the exam date arrives, but it’s also vital not to leave preparation to the very last minute, as cramming will often lead students to be exhausted and ill-prepared for exams. Setting a study schedule several weeks in advance of the test date helps organize your time – what to review and when – so that you can spend the more time on material or concepts that will come up the most on your final exams.

Work In Groups As Often As You Can
Reviewing semester material, whether it is for AP Biology, Physics, or U.S. History courses, can oftentimes be done much more efficiently and enjoyably when tackled as a group. This can involve pooling study materials together among friends or quizzing each other on important topics. Making a study schedule with a friend or study group can also be a useful way of keeping each other accountable and motivating one another as the exam approaches.

Be Patient With Your Review Work
Keep in mind that knowledge retention and score improvement do not happen overnight, nor do they happen in a linear fashion. Sometimes it’s hard to predict when or how quickly you’ll be able to retain or memorize important information, or improve your knowledge in a given area. Again, for content heavy science courses, this is an important note to keep in mind. During final exam prep, it’s quite common to see that you did well in a section you did not expect to do well in, or to fare modestly in a section in which you really expected great results. Stay patient during your exam preparation and make sure that you’re covering all appropriate material, not just the concepts that you think you need to focus on.

Look At The Big Picture
For juniors and seniors, the end of the fall semester is an especially important time for college admissions, so it’s important not to lose sight of your academic goals. Oftentimes there will be events or appointments that conflict with keeping a consistent study schedule, but keep in mind that end of term grades will often be, for better or for worse, how your performance during the entire term is perceived. So it’s important to buckle down and focus on the next couple weeks and limit any conflicting plans until after exam season.

Your grades are the most important thing that colleges will consider when evaluating your college application, and final exam performance, in some cases, can make or break your final marks for the semester. If you’re struggling with your final exam prep, or need help improving your academic performance overall, contact us today for more information on our academic tutoring services!