HOW TO ACE THE CONCEPTUAL PHYSICS FINAL: Review your notes and work through the review packets

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. This will conclude these how-to guides for the 2014 winter finals.Aishwarya Bio

Freshman year, finals seem rather overwhelming considering it’s the first time you’re taking them. But, in all honesty, they’re nothing to fret about.

Take the physics final, for example. It mirrors (teacher Glenn) Mangold’s regular tests, except it’s longer. There’s no need to prepare weeks in advance. It’s unnecessary to try and memorize every note and handout you have stuffed in your binder.

The ideal time to start preparing is about a week before the final. (So if you haven’t even started—get on it!) Go through your notes and compare them with a friend to make sure they’re complete.

Take two or three days reading through the notes. This will help you gain an idea of what you remember well and what you completely forgot you had learned.

After you have finished reading your notes, work through the problems in the review packet. If you want, you can create an equation sheet to make sure you know all of them and how they might be used.

Obviously, it would be great to work through every problem and make sure you can solve them. If you feel pretty comfortable with physics, however, then you can just do one or two problems of each type. But hey—more practice never hurt.

If after completing the review packet, you realize that there was a section or two that you really struggled with, find the test from that section and go through some of those problems. Make sure you fully understand the material.

Studying with a friend also makes the studying less stressful. And of course, you can always go to Mr. Mangold and ask him a few questions. Or at this point, you can just email him—he’s pretty good at answering emails.

Beware, though, that the physics final is going to be on the lengthier side. When you enter the gym, you will see that the test is very thick (and you start feeling bad for both yourself and the trees), but don’t panic. Mr. Mangold times his finals, so you’ll definitely have plenty of time to finish. 

Just remember: breathe. The problems will seem endless, but they’re nothing you haven’t seen before.

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