Preparing for exams? Check out these tips


Catherine Braman

Juniors Charlie Ward, Sam Tipler, and Joel Tibbetts study for finals in the Lower Library. “It is better to start studying early in the week rather than just waiting until the weekend,” Tibbetts said.

As exams draw near, students figure out ways to best prepare themselves for the tests. Saint Paul Academy and Summit School schedules exams over the course of the week before winter break in a way that doesn’t force people to sit in a room all day. They are scheduled twice a day over a three day calendar, resulting in studying effectively being a base necessity. Outside of the in-class review days and study sessions offered in some departments, students are recommended to put time and effort into preparing for their exams on their own. How they go about that, can be the difference between a C and a B or a B and an A.

It is never too early to start studying. Freshman Emma Truman thinks that beginning early is beneficial, “I start early. That way, I have time to ask teachers about what I don’t know.” Both sophomore Raffi Toghramadjian and Junior George Stiffman agree that starting early is important: they both start two weeks out for studying.

Although starting early is important, the quality of the studying itself is just as if not more important. One proven method is doing the worksheets given by the teacher.  “If my teacher recommends something, I do them,” Truman said. Toghramadjian thought this way his freshman year, but he changed his approach this year, Now I’m going to look less at the handouts and just write stuff out.” he said. Stiffman agrees with both of them, “I usually outline concepts before using a review sheet to make sure I know the concepts by memory so that I don’t forget them while I’m taking the exam.” he said. Part of his outline involves writing things out like Toghramadjian, “Usually writing material down helps me to remember more ideas from each unit.” he said. The idea behind writing things down is it will build muscle memory and make sure that it is actually memorized.

Another important part of studying is choosing what to study. Toghramadjian has a method for what to study, “I’ll look at the main concepts first, and then I’ll go in depth for each one,” he said. Truman has a similar approach: “I first do a brief overview, isolate what I need to work on,” she said. This is also mirrored by Stiffman, not all subjects warrant the same amount of studying: “For subjects that build upon ideas from previous units, I don’t do as much studying. I make sure that I have the basic concepts down and know how to apply them into ideas in other units.” he said. As important as studying is, knowing what to study can be just as important as knowing how to study.

In the end, how one studies is up to them. Freshman Henry Zietlow understands that not every studying technique will work for everyone: “You study what you want to study because you know the best about yourself,” he said. One important thing for everyone, though, is to not get too stressed. Stiffman emphasizes the importance of relaxation on testing days: “I try to relax beforehand and get away from friends for a bit.” As great as friends are, exams are a time where taking care of one’s self takes precedence of friends. It is also important no matter how one studies to be well rested during exam time and to be feeling as good as possible. As students strive for good grades on tests, one important way to raise the grade is studying in the right way.

Exam Schedule:  Monday, Dec 15 – 9:00-10:30: History, 1:00-2:30: Language.  Tuesday, Dec, 16 – 9:00-10:30: English, 1:00-2:30: Science. Wednesday, Dec. 17 – 9:00-10:30: Math, 1:00-2:30 – Make-up/Elective.