Daunting but not impossible: math teacher, junior share tips for acing math final

Tommy Callaghan, News Editor

With a week left before Christmas break, students are counting down until first semester classes end. However, before the two-week vacation can commence, there is one thing left for students to get past — finals. Those semiannual exams can be very stressful for everyone but one subject in particular tends to haunt students.
When it comes to studying for a test, math teacher Mrs. Lisa Ford says that it is all about the timing of a student’s preparation.
“I would advise students to get an early start on studying, and they should also ask their teachers to narrow down the content that will be on the test. We cover a tremendous amount of material each semester in any class, so the student that wants to start studying early needs to know what they need to focus on.
“I would also suggest studying every night in advance. It depends on the individual, but everyone should be preparing a little bit each night,” Ford said.
Though students can prepare in advance, for some of those students, math finals still come as a large source of stress.
Junior Austin Vukovits said, “I stress about math because there is no guarantee that you’ll know everything. The problems on the final will be different than the ones you study, no matter what you do. That is what makes it most stressful.”
Vukovits is also a student who prepares up to two or three days in advance before the test. “I usually use a study guide if it’s given, but if not I just do review problems in the book,” Vukovits said.
In general, Vukovits says he likes math and how it makes him think on a deeper level. But even for someone who generally enjoys math, preparing for the final can be tough.
But what makes math so different from the other finals students have to take? Basically, it’s just a different way of thinking that many students are not as comfortable with compared to the exams given in some other classes.
Ford said, “There are some things you can get by with in other subjects, but math just isn’t that way. It’s cut and dry. The scary thing is that you either know it or you don’t and with an exam, you have to know so much. I understand that they’re scary, but students have to take math finals all the way through the college.
“As long as students make the time in advance, it’s not only easier to prepare, it just makes everyone’s life so much easier.”
As finals approach in a week, it is completely normal for students to feel stressed out, especially when it comes to their math final. But for those students who feel their math final bears extra weight, it is important to remember to study in advance. Students should always find out what they need to focus on, sort out any questions they have before the test and trust that they are prepared.