3 Foolproof Cramming Tips To Guarantee An A+ On Your Final

3 Foolproof Cramming Tips To Guarantee An A+ On Your Final

The end of the year is one of the worst times for students, knowing how to work your way around it is essential.

Finals Week. It's the temporary trip to hell for every student, cramming and reviewing an entire semester's worth of material within a measly weekend, before being drowned within a sea of scantrons and multiple choice answers for an entire week. Essentially the true "nightmare before Christmas," finals week multiplies the stress and pressure atop students but also brings out the best. For me, I find myself becoming more creative and realizing patterns along the way on tips and tricks that teachers use to make their tests. Along the years, I've been able to recognize answers that definitely wouldn't be correct, as well as the actual important information that needs to be known for my tests. In all, it has helped me be a better student and preform better when taking these dreadful tests.

Tip #1: Know your teacher!

Now, I'm not saying that you need to be your teacher's best friend, but as s/he does her lessons in class, always keep watch on what she chooses to deal with/ figure out first when approaching problems. In math, for example, if s/he always chooses to simplify first, then distribute, etc. — simply first, too. For science, if your teacher chooses to draw the diagram, etc. first, then also draw the diagram first. Thinking about questions the way that your teacher would think about the question is a lot better and easier than guessing or trying to figure out a question unconventionally. After all, they're the ones that made the test, right?

Tip #2: Know yourself!

This may sound easy, but entering high school is only when I truly found out who I am and how I study best. Some people may study better in groups, thinking aloud and communicating, but for others, earphones and a quiet room is their best environment. Find your environment and make the best use of it. Try not to place distractions such as your phone near your study space and set small goals along the way as you go. As you continue to break these goals, you'll feel empowered to keep going. A mistake many people make is looking at studying as a whole, as a problem. Instead of seeing a semester's worth of work, they see a 70 paged study guide. This in itself is stressful enough, but through setting small goals, essentially dividing the work, you're also dividing the amount that you have to study. The 70 paged study guide is then broken up into units and lessons, and you'll be surprised how much you remember. By the end, you most likely only have to study around 30, both a win for you, your time and grade.

Tip #3: Be reasonable!

Final exams are just 100 minutes long, which may seem like a time constraint to just you, but it's also a time restraint to your teachers. Think about it this way, over the course of five months, you teach your class everything they have to know for the final: going into six units worth of work, material and lessons for them to know and be able to remember once they take it. However, the six units each are broken up into say, four different lessons each. That's 24 lessons in total, all with different information, main ideas and concepts. Now, you have to fit all this information within one test — only 100 questions max. What would you ask?

The answer is only the important information! Teachers can't simply afford to use test time and questions to ask vague material that's most likely not going to appear again in future lessons or in tests in the future, such as the AP exam. Finals are meant to test students on how well they're able to develop an understanding for the semester's worth of material as a WHOLE, not per unit or per lesson. Realizing continuities, how ideas build off of one another and how smaller details taught come together to form a grander picture in grander systems and theories is what's most important, and will most likely show up on the final. Many believe that in order to be completely prepared, it's essential to reread an entire textbook, which isn't necessary.

As long as you know yourself, your teacher and how smaller concepts come together and interact to form major concepts, an A is almost guarenteed!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.


I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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