Fremd finals countdown: The reprise

Kelly Wang and Mila Brandson

‘Tis the season to be jolly and along with it the return of finals after a long period of hibernation. Although this year’s class of seniors and juniors have faced them before, first year students and sophomores will take their first formal final exams. However, all students will have to jump back into the swing studying in order to perform their best on the upcoming tests. As each day passes, the exams steadily approach and students will have to work hard to assure they are adequately prepared.  Both students and teachers count down the days as final exams steadily approach with an inevitable finale at the end of the semester. 

Semester finals format may vary depending on the department or even teacher, and students should consult their teachers about the specific layout of the finals in their class. Generally, courses in the science and math departments tend to offer multiple-choice exams, while social studies finals can include multiple-choice questions along with possibly writing sections. Meanwhile, English assessments can vary from multiple choice to short answer or full essay to presentation formats, differing among teachers compared to the universal structure of listening, reading, speaking, and writing for world language exams.

Despite the vast range of assessment types, teachers across the departments agree that preparation is the key to performing well. Although the end of the semester tends to be stressful, the teachers added that student grades depend more on their effort from day one rather than the final for a course. The Viking Logue had the opportunity to speak to several teachers from each academic department to gain some last-minute advice on how students can do their best.

Science teacher Julie Zinger explains the benefits of maintaining a strong work ethic over time. 

“If you do what you’re supposed to do along the way and for a longer period of time, then that one day and that one higher stakes assessment is not going to bring on as much anxiety and stress,” Zinger said.

While preparing for the final assessment, studying approaches may differ for each department. Ranging from Quizlet flashcards to semester packet questions, students may also have preferred review methods for themselves. But regardless of personal learning style, social studies teacher Adam Gilman believes that asking questions is an essential step in preparing for every student.

“I personally think the teacher is the best resource if you have questions or are confused, instead of trying to find things or trying to come up with answers on your own,” Gilman said. 

Math teacher Ankeet Mantra adds that resources including Khan Academy and YouTube can also allow students to review concepts from earlier in the year. 

“Whatever is done in class will be most similar to the type of assessments that your teacher is going to give you,” Mantra said. But you can also look up any topic in the math world [online] and find somebody who’s made a video on it.”

Adequate resources are integral to preparing for finals, but strategizing in tandem with the availability of reliable tools is essential to the process. The teachers agreed that a pivotal signal to start studying is when students receive their review materials. Teachers agreed that the moment a student’s teacher provides review materials is a good sign to start studying. Cramming within the last couple of evenings is heavily discouraged, mainly because teachers are more than well-accustomed to seeing students stressed from last-minute studying. 

As for which topics to prioritize when studying for a particular class, Dean of Students and foreign language teacher Scott Newmark encourages self-reflection on past performance in class.

“Start with what was most difficult for you,” Newmark said. 

Amidst the frenzy of studying, maintaining good physical health can also support students. Both Zinger and English teacher Russell Anderson advised that getting a good night of sleep and eating a healthy breakfast can improve the quality of student work and performance. Even though finals may have the last say in a grade, physical and mental wellbeing is critical to avoid falling prey to the pressure. 

As every moment is a countdown to finals, Fremd teachers are there to help students prepare for and navigate through the last two school days of 2021. Although the semester may be drawing to a close, hard work, time management, and preparation can help students achieve their goals.