Study Stress and Final Tests: Students explore different ways to prepare for exams


Natalie Martinez

Writing down their class schedules, sophomores Avery Kurt, Shea Coughlan, Sophia Craig and Isabella Franco make their five-day finals study plans. The guidance department created the plans this year for the first time. Students received the plan during flex time to help them plan when they need to study for each of their finals.

Elaina Gibson, Staff Writer

Stress fills the air as most students start to study and take their finals from Dec. 15 through 20.
At the beginning of the year, the administration announced that students will only take two finals per day, compared to last year’s three per day. This will give students more time to prepare for the tests and have time to go home and regroup before studying again.
“I think this was loud and clear from the feedback we got last year that three finals on one day and being here all day is tough,” Dean of Students Alex Keith said. “When taking a test that is worth 15% to 20% of their grade, we want to give students the amount of time they might need to prepare for those specific finals.”
When asked in an online poll of 136 students, 19% said they don’t like the change, but the majority responded that they like it more or are indifferent to it.
“I am really glad we only have to take two finals a day because it helps me have more time to study for each particular one and not feel as stressed,” sophomore Emilia Olsen said.
Other students like junior Alex Haggerty don’t think the change will be that helpful to students.
“Doing more finals each day was more efficient because we got through them faster, and it was less days with a lot of stress,” Haggerty said. “People are able to wave finals anyway, so it doesn’t have a huge impact on how many finals actually being taken a day.”
In an online survey sent out to all students by the guidance office, 51% of the 440 students who responded said their weaknesses were test prep and test-taking. Over 35% of students reported that they study for less than one hour.
“We noticed a trend that grade level teachers were saying students were struggling when preparing for tests,” Keith said. “When they asked students how they were preparing, they either were not preparing at all or not preparing well.”
Meara said students have trouble preparing for tests because of their time commitments outside of school.

I am really glad we only have to take two finals a day because it helps me have more time to study for each particular one and not feel as stressed.

— Sophomore Emilia Olsen

“Some kids are really busy with sports, work, whatever, so it’s hard to find time to study,” Meara said.
The guidance survey showed that some students prepare for tests differently then others.
Sophomore Kristina Erskine said she studies for about 15-20 hours for her finals, roughly two to three hours for each.
“Depending on if I’m free, I’ll start studying three to four days before the final,” Erskine said. “I’ll cram the day before, and usually lots of Quizlets are involved.”
Last year, her best score was a 104%, keeping her pretty confident in her studying abilities.
Senior Ray Chaffee-McClure said she studies last minute and not well because she feels like she doesn’t know how to properly study, a common response on the school-wide survey.
Olsen said she studies for two hours per final by going over all her notes and study guides.
Keith said it’s important for students to stay healthy and take care of themselves throughout the final week. He said eating healthy, getting good sleep and having some sort of exercise throughout the week are important to be successful.
“I try to get at least seven hours of sleep before I take my finals because sleep has been proven to help memory,” Olsen said.
Keith said it’s also important to devote time to God by taking time to pray and reflect so stress levels will go down.
“You need to realize that, yes, they are big tests, but they are not the most important things in life,” Keith said. “You are a son or a daughter, you are a friend, you have other things in your life, and finals are just one more thing that you do.”