As the fourth quarter begins, finals are lurking at the corner of everyone’s minds. Every year, Ridgewood High School follows the same finals schedule with 2 finals a day – periods 1 and 5 on the first day, periods 2 and 6 on the second day, periods 3 and 7 on the third day, and periods 4 and 8 on the last day. The day before the first final, there is a “review day” where students go to all 8 periods. During this time, teachers answer last minute questions and go over the material.
In the past, Ridgewood High School used to offer midterms in late January; however, these tests stopped three years ago. Typically, the final exams at our high school focus on the second half of the year. However, if you’re in Advanced Placement classes, the majority of those classes will assign a project, rather than a test because these students would have already have taken the AP exam in May. Furthermore, during senior year, if one maintains their grade as an A, they are exempt from finals in June.
Jodie Suh, a senior heading to Cornell University next year, offered her personal tips and tricks. “Personally, I organize my finals schedule by planning two weeks ahead. I start by creating an outline (if one is given, I disregard it and create my own, using the given as a template) and highlighting the subtopics that seem unfamiliar. Then, I review these topics by creating a Quizlet or a concept map. It’s useful to handwrite; although it’s a hassle, you retain more knowledge by physically writing.”
When junior Teddy Moll was asked about how he studies for finals, he gave a step by step breakdown. “First step: see how well you have to do on finals. If you have a good grade, you should not focus as heavily on the final in that class than in other classes. Second step: allocate times to courses that you need to focus more on. I’ve used this strategy and realized that I am typically less stressed because I plan my study time slots ahead of time.” This strategy is popular among other juniors and seniors as they are quite experienced final-takers. It is vital to remember that these exams do not determine your entire final grade as they only account for 5%.
Kathryn Zhou, a senior who took 5 AP classes her junior year, greatly enjoyed final projects as opposed to final exams. “Since students already studied for typical exam questions in preparation for the AP exams, it would be essentially redundant for teachers to administer an additional final exam. Final projects often allow for a more fun and creative avenue for students to demonstrate and integrate their knowledge,” states Kathryn.
Although students may leave assignments and not study until the last minute, it is important to note that different assessments throughout the year are great opportunities to study. However, getting an extraordinary grade on your final exam could make a difference.
Graphic: Nicole Kye