This Guest Post, courtesy of Joan Rooney of, has some great ideas for year-end school success:

Tip Sheet for Finals
By Joan Rooney

Final exams aren’t just any tests: they’re the ultimate test of what a student’s learned during the year. Creating a strategy will help your student sail through finals—hopefully without the all-night cram session.

Create a schedule. Breaking the studying process down into manageable chunks will help alleviate some of the stress associated with finals. Students should start studying early and work at least a week backwards from the first final exam date.

Tech tip: Students can set alerts and reminders on their phone or computer to help them stick to the plan.

Get to Know the Test. Many teachers will provide study guides, review sheets and class time for review. Make sure your son or daughter knows as much as possible about what topics will be on the test and the format of the test. This helps the student know whether to memorize facts or learn to recognize them and whether to prepare essays.

Figure out weak spots and prioritize. Most students do well in some subjects and struggle with others. It is best to schedule the largest chunks of time for subjects with which they are struggling. When studying, students shouldn’t just start from the beginning of their notes and try to cram everything in. Instead, they should think about what material they know for sure will be on the test and review that material first.

Work with a study partner or group. Sometimes peer support can help get students motivated to study. Encourage them to make a plan with friends to review the class material, compare notes and work through the tough stuff together.

Create study aids and test strategies. Making flash cards, outlining subject notes or coming up with a mnemonic device are a few study tactics that may boost student’s recall at test time.

Eat well and get rest. While it’s tempting for students to pull an all-nighter and cram everything in at the last minute, it’s a bad idea. Even though students need to work extra hard to prepare for finals, it’s also important for them to take breaks. Encourage them to grab a snack, do a little leisure reading or check out their favorite TV show—even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Set the Right Tone. Your son or daughter knows what is at stake at finals time. Their confidence and self-esteem are on the line. If you set an anxious tone, they will pick up on that tone as well. Let your student know that you are available to help them study.

Create as stress-free an environment as you can. Let them know that what is important is that they do their best and you are there to support them. Then plan a dinner or an outing or fun activity for when finals are over.

Author Bio: Joan Rooney is Vice President for Tutor Management at, the world’s largest online tutoring service. Joan is a former high school teacher and mother of a soon to be 16 year old son.

how to studyPhoto by Pauline, a Dutch photographer, Flickr.