Students Offer Advice and Perspective Before Finals

With finals just around the corner, students are experiencing high levels of stress and attempting to find a balance between studying for finals and continuing to complete normal amounts of homework each night. The M-A Chronicle reached out to several students to ask how they prepare for the gauntlet of finals week.

Francesca Battista, a freshman at M-A, said she is feeling relatively nonchalant about finals, but this is probably because she has yet to experience a “real final.” Battista does not feel too stressed for the tests themselves, mostly because she believes she knows what to expect and that her teachers have prepared her well.

However, she is stressed about the process of preparing for finals along with balancing her normal homework load during dead week.

“I just wish I knew exactly what’s going to be on the final, so I know what to study,” Battista laughed.

During dead week, Battista admits she has done little to no studying, but has created a basic plan of how she is going to study during finals week. Until the final, she promised herself to spend a minimum of five minutes a day studying each subject. The day before the final, she will spend longer periods of time on the subject to go more in depth and ensure that she is prepared.

Battista said her finals, in order from most stress to least stress, were: Latin III, Geometry Enriched, Advanced Standing (AS) (English I, Advanced Biology, World Studies, and lastly Physical Education (P.E.).

Francesca Battista

Katherine Tearse, another freshman at M-A, feels nervous about her first high school finals. She said she has no idea what to expect since her middle school did not have finals.

Tearse believes that this year’s finals will be easier than finals in her next three years of high school. She elaborated, “As freshmen, we’re probably going to have it easy, but at the moment I don’t know how easy it’s going to be.”

Like Battista, Tearse feels more stressed about studying rather than stressed about the tests themselves. She said she will attempt to study at least one hour per night, studying for multiple classes in this hour. She will also study past tests and complete review packets that teachers give her, but she feels as though she may be underprepared.

“I feel like it would’ve been helpful to have given us review packets or told us what to study a couple weeks ago because then we could actually space it all out instead of cramming it into one week.”

In terms of how stressed she is for her finals themselves, Tearse said her classes from most stressful to least stressful are: AS English I, AS Algebra II, Spanish II, Advanced Biology, World Studies, then finally P.E.

Katherine Tearse

Dani Gafni, a sophomore at M-A, feels “mostly ready for finals this year.”

Even though she feels ready, Gafni worries that last year’s finals have not prepared her for the rigor of this year’s semester’s finals.

To prepare, Gafni plans on reading over old notes and answering practice problems for her hard classes.

Gafni ranked her finals in order from most stress to least stress as: AS English II, Pre-Calculus, AS Chemistry, Modern Euro, and lastly P.E.

Jasmine Rust

Jasmine Rust, a junior at M-A, said she feels “so-so” about her finals this semester, but does not feel entirely ready. She has a lot of studying to do, considering her classes are much harder this year since she is now taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

Rust believes her finals will be difficult as well because of the new level of stress she has experienced in her classes this year.

To study, she will do all her review packets, make herself study guides, and do practice questions whenever she can.

According to Rust, her classes in order from most to least amount of stress are: AP Calculus AB, French III, AP Language and Composition, United States (U.S.) History, Physics, and Architecture.

Selim Karahan


Selim Karahan, another junior at M-A, admitted he does not feel ready whatsoever for this year’s finals. He, like Rust, expects finals this year to be more challenging because of his AP courseload.

To prepare, he plans on studying notes from this semester for each of his classes, doing the review guides or packets that were given to him by teachers, being involved in study groups with friends, and watching online review videos.

For his AP French final, he and a few classmates are only speaking in French from the start of dead week until the day of the test, inside and outside of class. “It’s to ‘fully immerse’ ourselves in the French language,” Karahan joked.
Karahan listed his finals from most stressful to least stressful as: AS Physics, AP Language and Composition, AP U.S. History, AP French, Pre-Calculus, then Jazz Band III.

Jack Hinshaw

Jack Hinshaw, a senior at M-A, is not stressed for finals this year “because of the canned food drive.” The teachers of his harder classes are allowing open note finals because his class reached their canned food drive goal.

As a senior, he is still motivated for finals even after hours of stress over college applications.

Depending on the class, Hinshaw plans to study between one to three hours for each final. His main method of studying will be rereading notes.

Hinshaw said his classes in order from most to least stress are: Economics, Human Biology, Statistics, Creative Writing, Ceramics, and his teacher’s assistant class.

Helen Gordan

Helen Gordan, another senior at M-A, does not feel overwhelmed by these finals, to her surprise. She said that although she does not feel particularly prepared for finals, she feels a lot less stressed about finals this semester in comparison with previous years.

“I think I allocated all academic stress to worrying about college applications, so there’s none leftover for finals.”

Gordan admitted that every year, she tells herself she will study for long periods of time to feel prepared for her finals, but realistically she will “probably procrastinate and then cram right before.”

In terms of studying, Gordan said she is “a huge fan of study guides.”

“I make study guides, then I stare at them and hope something seeps in through osmosis or something.”

Gordan believes finals never seem to raise her grades significantly, but can “make them sink like the Titanic.” She said this only makes her feel somewhat motivated.

Out of all her finals, she feels the most stressed about her Multivariable Calculus final.

No matter what your course load or grade level, finals week is a stressful time for most M-A students. Hang in there Bears and know that in just a few days we will be racing home to enjoy three weeks of vacation.

In need of some help? Here are some resources to help prepare for finals:

20 Study Strategies for Finals Week

shmoop Literature

Khan Academy

Final Grade Calculator

I'm Fiona Belk, a first year journalism student in my junior year. I started journalism to become more involved in the M-A community, which I will do while also pursuing one of my passions of photography by taking photos to accompany stories. For the past two years I have been involved in the M-A track team. In my free time I like to watch movies, hang with friends, and go thrifting. I also spend time with my family and my two fat, white bunnies. This year I am excited to meet new people and have a great junior year.

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