Plan to Ace Your Exams

Last week, we published an article entitled “Demystifying the College Admissions Process” in which we suggested that grades and SAT/ACT scores are the most heavily considered components to an application.  In several weeks, most public and private school students will be taking final exams for the semester, so there’s no better time like the present to get prepared for finals!

Since grades weigh heavily for most public and private colleges, we definitely want to make sure that you finish your semester well.  Regardless of how you started your semester, it can only help you to study hard and finish your semester on a high note.  Not only will serious exam preparation raise your fall semester grade, but it will also prepare you well for the Spring semester.

So what can you do to make sure you are ready come exam day?

  • Schedule your tests and study times.  Take out a calendar, write out your end-of-semester tests, as well as other activities (sports games, club activities, etc.), determine how many days of study you’ll need, and work backwards.
  • Retype all of your notesIf you write something down, you will increase your ability to recall it later.  Don’t just type on the computer; get out flashcards or a notebook and copy important notes.  Many science/math teachers allow a “cheat sheet” that students can bring into the test.  Make sure you put all the important formulas, rules, and data you’ll need for the test.
  • Retake all of your tests/quizzes.  Here’s a little secret for you: teachers, like you, prefer patterns rather than blazing new territory.  If your teacher doesn’t provide a review packet, no need to worry!  Take your past tests and quizzes, cover up your work, and do the problems over.  Chances are your teachers will recycle material from the semester.
  • Avoid study groups.  Yes, that cute boy/girl will be there, but you and I both know that nothing gets accomplished in study sessions on Saturday evening at Starbucks.  If your home is too distracting, go to a library or someplace quiet.  Your significant other can wait while you finish final exams.
  • Ask for help.  Nothing warms most teachers’ hearts when students ask for extra help several days before a test.  Attend afterschool review sessions that your teachers hold, or ask to meet with them after school.  Bring specific problems or sections from the semester to review; your teachers (who grade your tests, by the way) will appreciate the initiative.

For students who don’t study, or who cram the night before, final exams can be a fearful time where luck is the prevailing force at work on test day.  But you are not such a student; by creating a study plan, actively reviewing the semester by copying notes and retaking tests, and getting extra help from your teacher, you can step into the classroom excited to show your stuff.

If you are at a loss for where to begin, or need someone more involved in helping plan your sessions and reviewing your semester’s class, consider our “Acing Your Finals Workshop” plus individual tutoring hours.  You will leave this 3-hour session having a detailed action plan to move forward into a successful exam week, and the individual tutoring hours will put you in a great position to ace those exams!


Applerouth is a trusted test prep and tutoring resource. We combine the science of learning with a thoughtful, student-focused approach to help our clients succeed. Call or email us today at 202-558-5644 or info@applerouth.com.