Wood blocks line up in winding path leading to picture of diploma and grad cap

The Fundamentals You Need to Survive Senior Year Finals

You're this close to being a high school graduate—you just have to survive finals. Here are the foundational skills and tools you need to get through it.

High school seniors, all your hard work is about to pay off. Pretty soon you’ll wear the cap of intelligence and the robe of freedom. In front of everyone you know, you’ll receive the reward you’ve been fighting for the past four years: your high school diploma. With this, new doors will be unlocked. You’ll be empowered and emboldened; nothing can stand in your way to college! Well…except maybe one thing. For this to become a reality, you must break through the last high school barrier: senior year finals As a senior, it’s your responsibility to pass them and keep your grades up for your academic future. This may be difficult, however, with all the prep for graduation, the desire to hang out with friends, and the stress studying can induce. But don’t fret! There are fundamental productivity methods you can use to conquer this beast while still enjoying your last month of high school.

A balanced schedule

To balance your academic life, social life, and any other lives you may be living, it’s vital to lay out how much time you wish (and reasonably have) to give to each. However, make sure it’s evenly balanced because you can’t be neglecting your responsibilities. You don’t want to spend 12 hours socializing with friends to only leave yourself 15 minutes to study for a final exam the next day. Try to create a timetable with all your deadlines, exam dates, social plans—everything. Allocate time for when you’ll sleep, work, study, and relax. While doing this, make sure you’re being honest with yourself. If you know you need to study for math the most, don’t block out only 10 minutes in your schedule to work on it. 

Related: Tips for Better Organization and Study Habits in High School

Organized to-do lists

If you have a lot of things on your plate during the last months of school, a to-do list is your best friend. In fact, go so far as to get yourself a planner. It’ll help you with your organization and make it easier to track all your responsibilities. Take a few minutes to write down all your obligations. This can range from purchasing a cap and gown to reviewing a certain set of notes. After that, prioritize them like we discussed before. Activities that need to be done right this minute should be at the top of your list. Things that need to be continuously attended to regularly should be marked throughout your planner or to-do lists.

A strong will against senioritis

Senioritis is popular slang for the behavior many seniors exhibit during their last few months of high school, including skipping class, not completing homework, and not taking the time to properly prepare for final exams! Succumbing to these shared habits can lead to a college withdrawing admission, losing scholarships, and even not graduating from high school. Unfortunately, there’s no magic spell for curing senioritis. As my counselor says, “You’ve just got to wake up!” What she means is no matter how comfy your bed is, you need to go to class, and that’s only half of it. You still need to make an effort to study, turn assignments in, and more. Keep your academic and career goals in mind; this should make you more inclined to stay on track. You can also try getting someone you trust to help keep you in check, like a friend, parent, or even maybe even a school counselor. Do whatever you can to keep your motivation up for school and final exams!

Related: 10 Things Every Second-Semester Senior Knows to Be True

Remember, once you pass your finals, you’re completely done with high school. Use the light at the end of the tunnel as motivation to give these last couple of months your all. By balancing your life, keeping yourself organized, and getting rid of slack-inducing thoughts, you’ll be able to experience all the joys of a second-semester high school senior about to receive their diploma!

Find more advice on how to survive finals and strengthen your academic planning skills in general in our Majors and Academics section.

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About Etame K.

Etame is currently an IB senior and hopes to major in Computer Science.


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