To help students prepare for the upcoming winter finals, Octagon staffers share tips and tricks for finals in subjects in which they’ve done well. The Octagon will be posting these how-to guides over the course of this and next week.Emma Williams Bio

Q: What’s the best way to study for Patricia Dias’s Algebra II Honors final?

A: The key is extra credit. During my second-semester final, the first page alone had five possible points of extra credit (one each for putting a heart around her daughter, Kaitlyn’s, name).

Also, after taking the final, Ms. D made the entire back page (three whole questions worth) and multiple graphs throughout the test extra credit.

Despite the lack of a curve, this extra credit can add almost 10 percent to your raw score. So be sure to take advantage of any and all extra credit opportunities on the test.

For the other 90 percent of the test, study by going over past tests. Ms. D gets inspiration from her old assessments when making her final, so it is definitely useful to know the questions.

When I was studying for the final, I wrote out all the previous test questions on blank sheets of paper. Then I gave myself a sort of diagnostic test by doing all the test questions without notes or studying.

After grading the test, I knew what I did and didn’t know. From there, I studied the concepts I didn’t know and kept retaking the test until I got everything right. It would be a good idea to take a couple tests under timed conditions to prepare for the length of the final.

You should start the self-testing process about a week before the final to be sure you have enough time to finish.

On the morning of the final, just look through your notes and review the problems you consistently got wrong on your tests.

During the test, all you can do is stay calm—and work fast!

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