Study tips for finals


Marisol Reza-Niebla ’25 uses flashcards to study for her Spanish test. Photo credit: Kathleen Martinez

Kathleen Martinez, Staff Writer

With three weeks left of school and Christmas break looming, many students are worried about finals starting Dec. 14.

Being a seasoned junior, I want to share a few study tips to my Royal sisters. I hope these tips are useful to the Rosary community. Because everyone learns differently, I made sure to include many different tips from students and teachers about how to study.

Tip Number One – Stop Procrastinating

It pains me to say this because I have been subject to procrastination on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, the only way to do well on your finals is to put in the work and study for it. Sit down, get off your phone, and power out. If you keep pushing studying aside, the day will eventually come and you won’t be prepared. Mrs. Rosales shared her secret to studying: “The most important tip is to turn off your phone. If you look at it, it can interrupt your train of thought and ruin your study time.”

Sabrina Piazza ’23 looks over her textbook to prepare for her test. (Photo credit: Kathleen Martinez)

Tip Number Two – Develop a Time Limit

Keep yourself on track by making small 10 to 30 minute intervals to make sure you study for a certain amount of time. If you do this and study for a least 10 minutes without distractions, it will help. Allison Lillestol ’23 talked about her study methods: “I make sure to take a shower, relax, and get into comfortable pajamas. After I get bored of my subject, I switch to a different subject and study that for a little while.”

Tip Number Three – Take breaks

You do not have to study for an hour without a break. If you do, your mind will become tired and overloaded in a sense. To avoid mind overload, you should use tips number two and three. You can set a ten-minute time limit once you are tired of studying. Use those ten minutes to go on your phone or distract yourself. But once your break is over, you have to resume studying.

Tip Number Four – Make a List

Creating a list of subjects you need to study will help keep you accountable. Once you complete the items on the list you can check, or cross them off until the whole list is complete. In addition to a list, understand what you are studying. Ms. Castaneda shared, “If you don’t plan what and when to study, you will procrastinate a lot or study a lot of wrong things and get problems wrong. Always start with the hardest subjects and work your way to the easy ones. Create a to-do list to see what you have done.”

Tip Number Five – Create a Rewards System

When I was little, my teachers gave me stickers when I did a good job. Similarly, now I reward myself after every study session. I usually take my rewards in the form of food, like a celebratory dessert. After I eat my reward, I will take my ten-minute break as an additional reward.

Tip Number Six – Talk to Your Teachers

This is probably one of the most vital tips on this list. It is important to remember that your teachers want you to succeed, so talk to them. Do not email them at 1 a.m. asking for help during finals because they will get mad; however, you still have time right now to check in with your teachers and ask for help. I always make sure to ask how the test is structured, what I need to study, and if there are any additional resources I can use to study. At the end of the day, extra practice can’t hurt. Even if you don’t use the extra practice, it’s always nice to have it just in case.

Tip Number Seven – Write it Down

For me, the best way I learn is by writing, especially if I color-code. In subjects like math and science, I like to make definitions and draw examples of problems to fully understand. In subjects like religion and history, I like to write out definitions or use Quizlet and test myself on each term. For languages like Spanish, I make sure to write the vocab out three to five times with the definitions and meanings. After I make example sentences, I also go to to practice specific words. For English, I write down character lists or anything important that happened in the story. Ms. Castaneda shared, “If you study only for the exam, but don’t really understand what you are studying, and even skip the basics, then you won’t be able to solve many problems. Learn and understand the basics and always try to understand each topic and not just memorize it. Find someone who can explain it to you.”

Tip Number Eight – Get to the Finish-line

During the test week, I make sure to study the night before for the specific subject I will have a test on. I try my best to go to bed early the night before. I set aside my pencils, calculator, and outfit for the next day to be prepared. On the day of, I make sure to wake up early enough so I have time to eat breakfast and cram in some last-minute studying. I go over the terms that will confuse me the most and I use every spare moment to study before the test.

Hopefully my list helped you in some way. This might be a wake-up call but I hope you try some of my methods. Now go study and have a great finals week.