Time to Cram

Amanda Mier, Features Editor

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Students review textbooks and class notes in preparation for the upcoming final exams.

Asha Iyer
Students review textbooks and class notes in preparation for the upcoming final exams.

Two weeks ago, you were a different person. You ate, you slept, you laughed with your friends, you went to the pool, you watched Netflix without a care in the world. This week, you are a studying machine. Or at least, you are supposed to be.

With finals fast approaching, many students at Maggie Walker are coming to the grim realization that they have less than a week to begin studying. They are flooded with questions: Where should I begin studying? What is the economic policy of mercantilism? Did we even cover this? Where are my notes? Can I memorize all forty-four presidencies in two days?

Students should try to focus on the fact that it is one test and the course of their life is not going to be drastically affected by one test.”

— Ms. Todd

 

While the other queries are more difficult to answer, some of the student body has answers to the first. Frances Heller (’18), a freshman and veteran of midterms, suggests making notecards and timelines. She recommends teaching someone else the content. Frances herself personally explains the topic to her mother, because “if I can get her to understand the information that means that I know the material well.”

The unspoken question, however, is why so few people have begun studying. The answer is prevalent throughout grade levels: lack of motivation. “Finals are definitely hard … since it’s the end of the year and everyone wants it to be summer, studying and having enough motivation to apply oneself is impossible,” said Audrey Paiva (’17). Mariko Lewis, another sophomore, confirmed this: “Last year … I was super motivated to do really well, especially because it was the last thing I had to before I could relax for summer. But this year, I don’t think I’ll study as hard for finals as much as I did for midterms because I’m super unmotivated.”

Teachers have not helped to make students prepare or feel prepared. “A bunch of teachers are giving us tests the week before exams,” lamented Lewis. Other students feel that the teachers do not design the exams for student success. “I wish that teachers would do their best to design the tests in a way that would reward those who have the best understanding of the topic rather than those who simply memorize facts,” said Heller. Harish Tekriwal (’17) agreed: “I think most teachers are pretty good about being fair to students…but I do wish teachers asked less for intricate details and instead tested on more broad, overarching themes.”

So although you put off your studying until the last week, what should you do? A number of students feel that cramming, the trademark study method of the Maggie Walker Green Dragons, is a valid course of action. Junior John Li is an expert in the practice of cramming. “If it’s a class that requires lots of practice problems, like math or chem[istry], I’ll cram for two days doing practice problems. If it’s a class that’s more conceptual like government, I’ll take a day,” Li said.

Finals are definitely hard… having enough motivation to apply oneself is impossible.”

— Audrey Paiva

Chemistry teacher Ms. Todd strongly does not recommend cramming, but she also does not recommend stressing. “I think that students should try to focus on the fact that it is one test and the course of their life is not going to be drastically affected by one test,” she said. “I think they should look over their notes for exam material and mark anything they don’t know, understand, or have questions on.”

Alternatively, students could begin studying early (or at least, earlier). A model to follow would be that of Kaan Sahingur (’17): “The key is to start studying for exams early. I usually start studying for exams over spring break, and you want to spend at least an hour every day since then studying, including weekends,” he advised.

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