Students share tips for finals week preparation

Sophomores Janine Tsai, Emily Cao and Brian Liu meet at the Yolo County Library to prepare for their World Civilization final.

By Gabriel Lee, Staff–

Junior Vasanth Kumar has been budgeting his time the last three weeks in preparation for his finals. Now that finals is upon him, Kumar is readily prepared to face the challenge.

Kumar is a member of the Academic Decathlon team, the Speech and Debate team and the Davis High men’s tennis team. In addition, he is taking five AP or honors classes including Calculus AB, AP U.S. History and AP Biology. For Kumar, budgeting time is an invaluable skill when preparing for a final.

“For studying, I like to stagger it for the weeks leading up to the final,” Kumar said.

Sophomore Collin Fitzpatrick, who takes six AP or honors classes, is part of the DHS men’s swim team and participates in CSF and Key Club, agrees with this ideology of planning ahead.

“My go-to for memorizing is flashcards,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick will often review these flashcards once or twice a night leading up to the test in order to imprint concepts into his brain.

Senior Helena Leal also acknowledges the upside planning ahead as she is an editor for the yearbook, plays tennis and lacrosse for DHS and juggles five AP and honors classes.

“It’s definitely helpful for me to study throughout the year rather than trying to learn everything at the end of the semester,” Leal said.

Another effective method which Leal uses is reviewing and rewriting old notes in addition to writing flashcards.

This form of proactive studying is also supported by testing. In a study conducted by Sage Journals, students who engaged in self-questioning or students who summarized notes from a lecture generally received the highest scores on a standardized test.

Rebecca Ambrose, an education professor at UC Davis, analized the test results.

“Bottom line [is] to prepare for finals students need to engage in active studying,” Ambrose said. 

Ambrose also gave examples of active studying recommending methods such as teaching a friend about the contents of the test, redoing an old test and writing answers to self-generated questions.

Another effective study tactic is to use resources given to the student by the teacher. According to math teacher Derik Birdsall, most teachers equip their students with outlines to help them study.

“These basically outline the major ideas of the semester that students need to know in order to be successful on the finals,” Birdsall said.

Kumar also agrees with this method and recommends it to others.

“I tend to use whatever resources the teacher gives to me for example online websites are very helpful,” Kumar said.  

Fitzpatrick advises students regarding time management.

“Make sure you’re focused on studying. Don’t waste too much time before moving on,” Fitzpatrick said. “Don’t lose sleep over studying, it’s just not worth it.”


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