Math teacher Chris Millsback and sophomore Zander Arnold review problems together during flex period. (Photo by Arijit Trivedi)

Students prepare for finals

As Country Day students wrap up the first semester and finish studying for finals, they will find managing time effectively and using online and teacher-provided resources can make the difference between a great grade and a passing grade.

Following the three-day weekend in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, finals week will start Tuesday with the math and world language finals. Wednesday will bring the history and science finals, and  Thursday will finish with English and double discipline classes. 

Students testing positive for COVID-19 this past week will not come back to take their finals until their 10-day isolation period is over and they show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. Students without access to a COVID-19 test may instead wait 13 days to come back as long as they are feeling well.

Biology teacher Kellie Whited suggests students communicate with their teachers if they are worried they won’t be able to take a final on the assigned date.

“Some students have a very mild case or asymptomatic case and are able to study at home and just want to get it done. Others might have a more symptomatic case or are struggling with studying and need that extra time,” Whited said.

As long as there is communication between students and teachers, Whited is willing to give extra time. 

“It’s no one’s fault if they get sick, and I want their main focus to be getting better. School and finals and all of that is secondary to their health,” she said.

For all students, there are ways to maximize studying efficiency.

Each class’ resources are going to be different, Whited said. For biology and AP Biology, she recommends watching educational consultant Paul Anderson’s videos on

“He has videos on just about every type of science you can think of. He’s a really good resource and a proven resource so he’s factual. Some people really like Khan Academy. Some people like Amoeba Sisters.”

Whited also said students can look on the inside of their textbooks to find related resources and online courses that correspond to the lessons.

While the book is an important resource, students shouldn’t spend all of their time going through and reading everything from each chapter. The best thing they can do right before their tests, however, is to get enough sleep. 

“You have to trust what you know. Last-minute cramming is never a good idea,” Whited said. “It’s better to get a good night’s sleep and have a good, healthy meal and rest. You want to give your body the best chance to do well and that starts by taking care of your brain, which is nutrition and sleep.”

Weeks preceding the test may involve other study methods. Senior Vannessa Escobar uses a mix of both online and human resources and tries to study for about an hour a day.

“For math, I ask Ms. J for extra review packets so I can understand the material better. Some teachers like Dr. Whited hold review sessions at flex in preparation for any big tests or finals.”

Escobar also quizzes herself using online flashcards and whiteboards. 

“I use Quizlet for anatomy & physiology and biology to help me memorize vocab terms and functions of the material,” Escobar said. “I have a mini whiteboard at home that I use to write down the functions of body parts for my science classes and solve equations for math.

Distractions can also be an issue for students struggling to stay focused. Sophomore Ryan Paul, for example, often studies online using YouTube videos and resources from College Board to help him understand the material. 

Laptops and an abundance of noise can lead to a difficult time focusing.

“For the computer, I try to keep it away and only use it if I really need to watch a video clarifying a concept,” Paul said. “For the noise, I try to sit in a quiet place like the quiet room in the library.”

The end of a semester can be a stressful time for some, but by taking time with resources and giving their brains enough rest, students can perform to the best of their ability.

— By Kali Wells

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