Seniors, stay focused for the final lap

May 23, 2014 | Posted in: High School

My senior daughter is more than ready to graduate.

“Shouldn’t classes be winding down by now?” she asked, lamenting the two tests and project deadline she faces in the coming days.

I reminded her that there is still nearly a month of school left, including finals and Regents for many students. It’s not likely there will be a whole lot of “winding down.”

Staying motivated toward the end of the school year can be hard – particularly for seniors who are looking toward the next leg of their life journey and are more than ready to be done with high school.

At this point, our teens are responsible for their coursework. However, as they round the bend to the final lap, we can provide gentle guidance to strengthen habits that will serve them long after high school.

Stay organized.

With so much information to review for final exams, it’s important to keep notes and reference materials well organized. Go through folders and purge unnecessary materials. Use Post-it notes to mark important topics in a notebook.

Prioritize the workload.

Multiple final exams can be overwhelming if you don’t set realistic goals and expectations about what can be accomplished in what is likely, at most, a two-week study period. Not every class requires the same amount of time and energy for a final. Decide which classes will need more attention, and prioritize study time. That leads to…

Make a schedule.

Put finals and Regents exams on the calendar. Develop a study plan. We often have an easier time following a schedule than when we go at a task haphazardly. Set up blocks of time for studying with time allotted for breaks in between.

Avoid cramming!

Research shows cramming is an ineffective way to study. According to a 2011 study conducted by, students who cram for tests and exams typically only pass the examination with an average score. In addition, the majority of the information gained through cramming sessions ends up being forgotten – not just over a period of time but even during the actual test itself.

(This post we wrote last year has more helpful tips for middle and high school students: Take the guesswork out of exam prep

Maintain balance.

Exercise, healthy eating, a good night’s sleep and time for relaxation are all important to a healthy mind and body. Take a break to get outside and enjoy the spring weather – it will help you be much more focused when it comes time to get back to studying.


Karen Nerney has a background in journalism and has been a communications specialist with Capital Region BOCES since 2011. She proud mom of a 9-year-old son and two daughters, ages 18 and 16, who are committed to a strong finish to the end-of-year race.

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