A guide to finals


Magdalene Halikias

Students get an early start on studying for finals. Finals begin on Monday, Dec. 19 and finish on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

The Season of Finals is upon us! Merry studying to all! Here’s to stressful nights reviewing packets and pages of notes, realizing that all of what you know is only 10 percent of the multiple choice questions, cramming a semester’s worth of knowledge into ten minutes before the actual test, and experiencing the bittersweet aftermath (whether you aced it or failed it is behind you, because now we’re on break and school doesn’t matter!).

For a high school veteran like me, finals are just another assignment to get me through the grueling first semester of senior year. But I do remember a time when I genuinely feared the tests I was about to take. This is for you, freshmen. It’s really not as bad as it seems.

“I think what the majority of people are worried about is the schedule of finals days and where to go each day,” said Ava Severts, freshman. “Some kids also struggle with calculating the grade they need on the final to get their desired grade in the class.”

Finals count for 20 percent of your total semester grade. The other 80 percent comes from your grades of the first two quarters with each quarter receiving a 40 percent weight. The way your teachers approach their finals may be different. Some may want a project, others a test, and for the lucky few, simply attendance. A tool to find the grades you need on each of your finals can be found on the HCHS app, or on an online calculator.

The finals schedule is a little wacky. They’re spread out over three days, and each period has an assigned day. On Dec. 19, students should attend their first period final, their fourth/fifth period final, and their second period final. On Dec. 20, students go to their third period final, sixth/seventh/eighth period final, and their ninth period final. On Dec. 21, students only have their tenth period final and any make-ups. Also, remember that if you have three finals in one day, you can ask any teacher to allow you to take their final during the make up slot on Wednesday, Dec. 21. 

There are fifteen-minute breaks in between each test, just in case you need to cram or grab a bite to eat. Attendance is most-commonly mandatory, but your teachers will inform you more on the subject as it can vary by class.

Now what everyone is worried about is studying. Should I spend my whole weekend studying for every test? Twelve hours for history, eight for biology, nine for geometry, twenty minute nap?

Definitely not. Just remember that a final is just a test. You shouldn’t have to cram for hours over the weekend. If you start reviewing even a week before, you can alleviate the stress you build up.

“From my experience, the best thing to do is make your own study guide, especially when you can get extra credit for them,” said Emily Goggin, sophomore. “Relax during finals week, have lunch with your friends after the tests. If you study but stay stress free, it’ll end up as a pretty easy week.”

And study guides really are key. Grab a group of your classmates and start a Google Doc. You’ll be able to review by simply looking back at your notes and summarizing it into a simple way to remember on a study guide.

“Make sure to study for the classes that you’re on the border with,” said Milen Spegar, junior. “If you need a 60% on a final for one class, and a 90 percent for another class to get a certain grade, focus more on the one you need a 90 percent on. This way, you’ll be readier for a test you’ll need more preparation for.”

Budgeting your time helps with handling so many tests. If you know you’re good at math, spend less time reviewing it. Of course, take some practice problems and look at old notes, but focus your energy on subjects that don’t come as easily.

The Internet has many helpful resources. Youtube videos like Crash Course, where an experienced teacher summarizes a concept, can help you get a better understanding of a subject. Going in early to talk to your own teacher may help as well. Use as many of your resources as possible.

If all else fails, there are plenty of upperclassmen available to tutor, classmates at the same level, and of course, your teacher.

Remember, finals are just tests. They won’t determine your entire life. Take them seriously, as you would every other grade you receive, but don’t over-exaggerate them.