Broncos prepare as finals draw near

"The answer to success in finals doesn’t lie in a textbook, or in hours of intense studying right before a test; rather, it’s presented to students every day in class. "

Katherine Beyer, Staff Writer

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s hard to forget it on campus. Doorways in the halls are enveloped in lustrous festive wrapping paper, while the walls themselves are embellished with colorful variety of holiday bows. Red and white streamers hug the trees, some of which boast glittering ornaments in their branches. Christmas grams are delivered in classes and advertised in the announcements. In the library, a stack of textbooks encircled by a string of lights stands as an impressive holiday tree. The sky has even managed a few rainy days in California’s drizzly idea of winter.  

However, the delights of the holiday season can also strike fear in the hearts of students, all-too familiar with what the approach of Christmas break signifies: final exams. Many students feel immense stress as finals approach, fearing that their work throughout the semester will culminate in failure.  

Nevertheless, with preparation and dedication, finals needn’t be a source of consternation for even the most meticulous students. The answer to success in finals doesn’t lie in a textbook, or in hours of intense studying right before a test; rather, it’s presented to students every day in class. 

“Pay attention throughout the year… as opposed to just studying what’s in front of you,” advised Ross Haefer,  Advanced English II and Cinema as Literature teacher. “That’s what some people do, they just fill the bill and they go, ‘Okay, here it is.’ … Finals are like an accumulation of knowledge.” 

In other words, while the appeal of putting aside studying throughout the year may beckon, it’s critical to consistently review material and take the time to understand what teachers are saying. Repeated, thorough studying also tends to mitigate the frequency of cramming sessions that persist deep into the night, giving students more time to sleep. Sleep is essential to academic performance; one UCLA study found that the fewer hours students slept, the poorer their academic performance the following day. 

“Basically… get to know your teacher and what your teacher is asking from you, and the study guide that they’ve provided for you, because that will probably guide you,” suggested Spanish teacher Guillermina Kil. 

She adds that students should not only follow these guidelines, but make use of the resources that their individual teachers have provided for them, such as the PowerPoints that she makes available for her own students. 

If studying at home is not an option, Vista offers several opportunities for students to prepare for exams with the help of experienced students and teachers. Along with educators and staff, members of the student groups National Honor Society (NHS) and California Scholarship  Federation (CSF) offer academic support at Broncotorials, study sessions held on campus on scheduled Saturdays. From Monday through Thursday after school, NHS sophomores and juniors also tutor students from 2:30 to 3:30 in all subjects.  

“I think there’s a lot of people that can help; there’s a lot of options for them. And if they didn’t understand something the first way, they can better understand it if a student is speaking,” said Emmy Flores, sophomore. Flores is in National Honor Society and has spent 19 hours this semester tutoring at Broncotorials and after school. 

While it may be easy to crumble in the face of finals, preparation and dedication pay off. All students can be successful if they dedicate the time and effort into preparing themselves for the end of the semester. And as long as they do, there’s no reason they can’t enjoy a stress-free holiday.

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