By Ashley Austrew, Journalist and Writer
The end of the school year is coming up faster than you might think. Before you know it, final exams will be in full swing and many students will find themselves cramming late into the night to be ready for their big tests. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re reading this right now, there is still plenty of time to get organized, make a plan, and breeze into the end of this school year like a pro.
Preparation is the key to success. This includes setting goals for what you want to accomplish over the next several weeks, and prioritizing the tests and subjects you’ll need to focus on most. Whether you’re a student or the parent of a student, here are some ideas, study tips, and strategies to finish out the school year on a high note.
The importance of goal setting
This school year has required a lot of hard work. Don’t let that go to waste by dropping your expectations now. What would a successful close to the school year look like for you? Write down some goals you’d like to accomplish in these final weeks, such as bumping up your grade in a certain subject or getting an A on a particular final exam. If you’re a parent, talk with your child about your expectations for the end of year, and get their perspective on what is most important to them.
Setting goals will help narrow down the areas where you should focus your efforts so you don’t get overwhelmed. You could even set up a reward system along with your goals to help keep your eyes on the prize!
Study for the final exam
What do you actually need to know for your final exam, and what will it take for you to get a good score? Set aside some time to email or chat with teachers to make sure you have a clear idea of what to expect. You might ask questions like:
✅ How will the exam be formatted?
✅ Which units will be included on the test?
✅ Is there an essay portion?
Make sure to note the exact date and time of the exam on your calendar. It’s also a good idea to set calendar reminders so nothing falls off your radar.
Create a study plan
Once you know what to expect on your finals, it’s time to make a study plan. Reviewing everything the night before the test almost guarantees the information won’t stick, and trying to study every unit and subject every day is a good way to get overwhelmed.
Instead, break your workload down into smaller units of time, and create a schedule you can stick to over the next several weeks:
✅ Pick a specific subject or lesson to focus on each day.
✅ Plan to study in 20-30 minute blocks. You can set aside time for one to two blocks each day so you don’t get overwhelmed.
✅ Allow time for breaks, and don’t forget to give yourself days off.
You don’t want to spend half of your study session looking for your missing book or trying to find a highlighter that isn’t dried out. Try setting up a designated study area where you keep all of your books, notes, and supplies.
This could be as simple as organizing your notes into folders and keeping them in a spare tote bag with your books, pens, and pencils. Or, if you have the space, you could designate a portion of your desk or a spot in your bedroom. Having your study materials in order will help signal to your brain that it’s time to switch into learning mode, and it may help you work more efficiently.
Form a study group
There’s strength in numbers, and that adage definitely applies to study sessions. If studying solo is your thing, then that’s the right way to go for you. But if you need a little extra motivation, coordinating with a small group of classmates may help. When you study with a group, you have a built-in accountability system. Plus, each member of the group will have different strengths and ideas. You can learn from each other, quiz one another, and help keep each other focused.
Ashley Austrew is a freelance journalist and writer from Omaha, Nebraska. Her work has been published at Cosmopolitan, Scary Mommy, Scholastic, and other outlets. For more by Ashley, read: “Teacher” vs. “Tutor”: Why Most Kids Need Both | Leave The Best Impression With Our Tips For National Proofreading Day | Make Your Writing The Star Of National Grammar Day With These Tips