top of page

Arnav and Imaan’s Advice for Freshmen: Finals

Since we definitely remember being freshmen, we thought we would break down ways to approach what might be your first finals.

We’re going to start off with some overall tips. Some of these are pretty cliche, but they’re helpful nonetheless:

Preparation for the final:

  1. Don’t procrastinate, studying the night before the final is a bad idea!

  2. Meet with teachers to go over any questions you might have.

  3. Use review week, especially time in class. Your classmates and peers can be your best resources for doubts you might have.

  4. Find the work intervals that work for you. Try 45 minutes of studying, then a 15 minute break. Or, if you have a short attention span, try 20 minutes of studying followed by a 5-10 minute break.

  5. Download efficiency programs. Use SelfControl, a program which allows you to blacklist distracting sites (like YouTube, Reddit, etc.) for a certain amount of time. It’s great!

While you’re taking the final:

  1. Breathe. Give your friend a high five. Pray. It’s just a test, and if you did it right, you should feel pretty prepared going in

  2. You have lots of time, so don’t rush. If you don’t know how to solve a problem, put a star it and come back to it later. Obviously, you can’t really do this for English or History, unless you’re doing well enough to be able to skip full essays. If so, you should probably be writing this article.

  3. Sleep. Wait. Don’t sleep during the final. The night before the final.


  1. Use your notecard. The notecard is helpful in two ways: it’s a big help during the test, obviously. But the actual process of making the notecard forces you to consolidate all the material, meaning it’s also the most valuable study resource.

  2. Write down the key formulas.

  3. If you’re ever having trouble with a problem, just remember, F=ma. Literally this is the only thing I remember about physics, other than that it took me a good amount of time to figure out the difference between acceleration, velocity, and speed.

  4. Those problem sheets you may or may not have done for homework are great practice. Re-print those sheets.


  1. Know the themes and plot of books you’ve read this year, and be able to understand how they relate to each other

  2. It’s spelled “Odysseus”   

  3. Not all poems are ironic, some poets actually believe their work is worth something

  4. Practice writing paragraphs and essays about themes and connecting different works


  1. This is less about dates and more about your ability to make an argument and connect ideas back to it. You should know your key “lookupables”, but it’s more about analysis than your ability to regurgitate facts.

  2. Remember those key concepts that your teacher probably keeps stressing? The best way to prepare is write a paragraph using those as prompts. It’s not much fun, but it prepares you for what the final will look like.

  3. You will only have to memorize your evidence this year. Afterwards, everything in history will be open note, which is pretty great.

  4. There’s no time for Stalin this weekend because you’ll be Russian to remember all your evidence. Did we even learn about Russia in Asian Worlds? Whatever.

World Languages:

  1. Memorize. This is about knowing conjugations, verb tenses, and vocabulary. If you took notes during the year, those will be your friends

  2. There is obviously also writing, but it’s a lot easier if you know the proper way to write.

  3. You’re not reinventing the wheel, don’t get too fancy, stick with words you know how to use and won’t fail with


  1. Never leave a problem blank, just write random numbers if you have no idea, just put something down and you will get points

  2. Don’t get freaked out if you think you don’t know how to solve something. Either skip it and come back or reread it at least twice.

  3. Memorize the formulas

  4. Sometimes, as a challenge, teachers will have you combine two ideas to tackle one problem. Don’t get flustered, and take it step by step.

Hopefully these tips are marginally helpful. Have fun!!

Recent Posts

See All

AAPI Month Faculty Interviews

Ella: Can you give a quick introduction for yourself and how you identify within the AAPI community? Minh: For myself? I’m Minh, I'm a math teacher. And how do I identify in the AAPI community? I’m Vi


bottom of page