Tackle Your Finals


Meredith Ho, Guest Writer

It is officially that time of the year: Finals. It is the first time in years that Tenafly High School has had finals, so we are all new to the experience. You may not know where to start, how to prepare, and what to do when the day comes. For some students, finals is an imminent, jarring monster on its way to hunt them, and they try to fight it by ferociously studying and running on energy drinks and two hours of sleep. For others, finals are a stroll in the park, and they arbitrarily fill out the bubbles on a scantron. Whether you are the former or the latter, these finals tips may benefit you.


While studying can be dreadful, and it is hard to start and get in the zone, there are multiple ways to make it fun (or at least a bit better). How can you make studying enjoyable?

  • MUSIC: Studying with music can make all the difference. Whether it’s upbeat music that lifts your energy, or your comfort songs you can hum along to, music can make the long studying sessions seem like a jam session. 
  • STUDY BUDDY: Studying with your friends may be beneficial (if you don’t end up distracting each other). You can use flashcards to test each other or play games such as Quizlet to use competitive drive as a study motive. 
  • POP OF COLOR: Use your markers, sticky tabs, colored pencils, erasable pens, etc! Using color makes a stark contrast when it comes to your notes. They make them easier to read, better-looking, and add more fun to the process. If you really want to distinguish your notes and be extra organized, color-code them!
  • VISUALS: Rather than blankly staring at long paragraphs and bullet points, use visuals to simplify your notes. Some visuals that are often used by students are; slideshows, timelines, illustrations, diagrams, charts, labels, and videos. Making your own artistic visuals is incredibly helpful, as it may help you outline main ideas and envision the concept/facts. 
  • GET COMFORTABLE WITH NO DISTRACTIONS: Sitting down and studying for a long amount of time is undeniably difficult, especially with so many distractions such as social media. One way to ensure that you don’t reach for your phone is to record a time lapse of you studying. Your phone will then be occupied and it’s always funny to watch the progress you’ve made. Make sure you are in a comfortable spot (whether it be your room, the library, a cafe, etc.) so that you would stay there and study for the amount of time necessary. It may be even more beneficial to have a drink or treat next to you to snack on. 
  • GAMES: Use online study websites or apps to help you memorize your topics in a fun, different way. Some great study websites/apps are: 


This may be one of the most obvious tips, but in case you were planning on cramming months worth of lessons into one night, here’s your reminder not to. Ms. Halliwell, a science and Student Support Leader here at Tenafly, recommends students to start studying the second week of May. 


It’s better to take up big tasks as smaller tasks so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Study little by little. For instance, rather than trying to review five chapters in one day, plan out your time and split those five chapters up. 


Memorization is a heavy factor in your ability to do well in finals, especially when it comes to fact-based topics. Rewriting and retyping your notes or teachers’ notes will help you memorize dates, time sequences, equations, etc. Redoing problems from your math textbook or practice packets will prepare you for different mathematical scenarios. 

There are other methods such as the blurt method where you test yourself by writing down everything you remember multiple times until you have memorized all of your information. Repetition is key. Focus on topics you don’t know very well and try to drill them in your mind through repetition of review. 


Teachers will give you class time to review for finals, don’t waste it to win 2048. Instead, pay attention and engage, because in-class activities such as Kahoots are great for memorization and comprehension. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for help and extra resources. The more resources to study from, the better you may understand the material. 


This may be one of the most important tips. Students tend to focus on studying rather than their wellbeing, not knowing that they go hand in hand. It is important to get seven to eight hours of sleep the night before your exams and try to relax as much beforehand so that you are in optimal mental condition to take these very long tests. Other healthy habits, such as meditation, may improve focus. And make sure to eat enough before your finals as well, your brain can’t do its best on an empty stomach. 

After studying, you should reward yourself (for example ‘wow I finished this chapter! I deserve Starbucks’). Or set a reward before you start studying (for example, ‘if I finish studying this whole chapter, I will buy myself Starbucks’). Finals are definitely a cause of stress, so be kind and treat yourself!

Overall, finals are significant, but you should always prioritize your wellbeing! Hopefully these tips are beneficial to you, and good luck on your exams!