Dear Alice Gives Advice to Reduce Final Exam Worries


Alice in the Looking Glass, Chief Advisor

Dear Alice,

As the end of the year approaches, I am finding it difficult to keep my mind focused on school work since summer is so close. This year I am a freshman, and teachers are beginning to explain our expectations for finals.  I find this idea very daunting, and I remain anxious just thinking about it. Alice, do you have any advice? How can I possibly tackle studying everything my teachers have taught in every subject?


Stressed Sonya

Dear Sonya,

The end of the school year is always an exciting time. You and your classmates have dedicated hours and hours to your studies all year. That dedication takes some of the pressure off of the finals. Of course, there is a lot of information that you will be asked about, but remember that you already learned that information and you’ve already been tested on it.

Therefore, at this time, the best thing you can do is review and organize your notes — just to refresh your mind. My advice is to look over your past assessments. Dedicate more time to what you got wrong, but do not forget to look over what you got right. I am sure you will do fine! Trust yourself and make sure you buckle down for these last weeks. You will enjoy your summer that much more if you do.

  • Remember to make a schedule, and stick to the plan. Do not just focus on one exam at a time, but pace your studying in smaller intervals. This helps your memory retain information better.
  • Use more than one learning modality. You cannot just look at something and remember, or few can. You want to look and talk it out loud, or look over something while you bounce a ball or move about. Writing things down really helps your brain stick the material.
  • Fuel your brain with rest and healthy snacks high in protein. Brain power burns a lot of calories, and you need to stay fueled. Sleep is essential for memory consolidation.
  • Exercise is key to staying energized, balanced, and to managing stress. Schedule in exercise time each  day.
  • Consider your teacher your most valuable resource. She can help you pace your studying and answer questions as they arise. Your advisor can also help you make a study plan.
  • Stay focused, and don’t let unstructured time lead you to waste time. Focus and intensity are key to running the race through the finish line. Remember Aesop’s turtle: “Slow and steady wins the race.”
  • Keep a positive mindset. Your attitude toward your success has an enormous influence on your success. If you feel anxious, pump yourself up with positive talk; you can convert that negative nervous energy into excited positive energy. Visualize yourself answering questions successfully. Use your confidence to help you lift your performance.

Good luck!