Wilson teachers give advice to students as third grading period nears closer

Dr. Kenfield (Principal)

What are some bad study habits that students should stay away from as the final grading period begins?

“A common study habit that I recommend avoiding is cramming for a test. Waiting until the night before to prepare for a final exam creates a ton of stress and loss of sleep. Excessive stress and sleep deprivation is not going to help you give your best effort.”

How should students study for the upcoming final exams?

“Study in groups! Study in groups! Study in groups! We all do not learn the same and tapping into the knowledge base of others is a great way to review what you know and learned, as well as give you insights to learning you missed or did not clearly understand the first time around. Ask for your teacher’s recommendation on the best way to prepare for the final exam. Schedule regular study sessions with your group weeks before the final and let your teacher’s recommendations guide your study sessions.”

As our principal, what would you like to say to the student body as they approach the third grading period?

“Make sure your grade in the class reflects your effort, knowledge and skills. You have worked hard to get to these last six weeks of the semester. Do not take your foot off the pedal now when you are so close to wrapping up the semester. If you have not been giving your best effort, it is not too late. Ask questions, complete all your work, and do not give up! You can do this!”

What was your most stressful experience as a high school student?

“Anything related to performing at your best is stressful. Whether it is school, competition, or a job, performing at your best can be stressful no matter where you are in your life. Sometimes it feels like you are constantly jumping through someone else’s hoops. But, doing your best and getting good grades says something about you – it says you care, you are resilient, you believe in yourself, and you want to do well. Whether you are working for a professor at college or working for a boss at a job, they all want and expect these attributes from you. This is the way you show them you have what it takes. You do not have to be perfect, you just need to show that when your best is not enough you will keep trying to improve. That is all anyone can ask of you, and all you should ask of yourself.”

Mr. Leon (Chemistry Honors, AP Chemistry)

As the third grading period begins, how can students better prepare for a stressful time?

“The question that should be asked is “What is causing the stress?”. And the answer to this is usually procrastination and poor time management— most students are stressed from leaving assignments to the last minute. So my best advice would be to avoid procrastination and employ effective plans to manage your time wisely. Additionally, students should also communicate with their teachers if they are stressed out about course load.”

What tips would you provide to students who are currently dissatisfied with their grades?

“If you are dissatisfied with your current grades, try to be proactive and have a growth mindset. Be open-minded about taking constructive advice from people and know that grades do not define a student’s future. Try to find a way to communicate with the teachers and work a bit harder toward the end of the semester. Also do not forget to focus on learning, not the grade.”

How did you balance work and relaxation as a high school student?

“For me, it was very difficult to balance work and relaxation because I was a very academically oriented student. But even then, I forced myself to carve out time for enjoyable activities such as talking to friends and watching movies. But I was able to do this by using a planner and efficiently getting my school work done first: I blocked out my study times for each subject and made sure to finish within the time block. Then I was able to have free time and distress.”

What was your favorite subject as a high school student?

“My favorite subject was economics. Though science was important to me, I also loved learning about other subjects that allowed me to look at the world from a different perspective. And since we live in a capitalistic society, I liked learning about how businesses run and observing life outside of a scientific lens.”

Mr. Blanchard (AP Psychology, World History)

What are you looking forward to in the final grading period?

“I look forward to the topics I get to teach about! In AP [Psychology], we will be dissecting a sheep brain and have a clinical psychologist come in to speak with the class. In [World] history, I am covering World War I and I find this to be an interesting topic in world history.”

As a psychology teacher, are there any psychology tricks to help students study more effectively?

“Spaced repetition. Study a topic, then step away. Review that topic in different intervals over a prolonged period of time. The Pomodoro method will also change the game for your studies. Do not cram or pull an all-nighter – your brain does not work that way.”

What would you say to students who are stressed out over their grades right now?

“Trust the process. It is normal to be stressed, [but] you have to be honest with yourself – are you stressed because tests make you nervous? Or, are you stressed because you did not prepare enough? If you are prepared enough, trust your preparation.”

Looking back, what is your worst experience with exams?

“My worst experience with exams was when I did not prepare myself properly. Sitting down for an exam and knowing that I know none of it is one of the worst feelings I can think of as a student.”

Mr. Barone (World History, AP World History)

As the third grading period approaches, what are your words of encouragement for the student body?

“Keep the end goal in mind. Do not surrender. This is the last leg of the race for the first semester. You have to run to win. Just do your best, that is all we can do – but be sure whatever you are doing is your honest best. We can achieve incredible things if we really focus our minds on the tasks that [allow] us to achieve.”

How did you balance academics and extracurriculars as a high school student?

“I would put academics first. Use extracurriculars for fun and stress release. I would also be careful to not load the plate with too many extracurriculars because one can be [involved] in many things but ineffective in each of them. Better to have fewer things that allow you to [keep] a keen focus. Prioritize the [activities] that are essential [by using] a calendar and plan accordingly. But do not forget to work in some short breaks.”

What’s your advice to students who want to improve their grades during the 3rd grading period?

“Improvement requires a change in how the work is done, along with an attitude adjustment as to why [work] must be done to your best ability. Do all assignments well, study for all tests and quizzes, and work to meet project deadlines in advance. If there is a final exam, you must review a little bit every day rather than drinking Red Bull to fuel a cram session. Also remember to just do your ultimate best, do not only worry about the grade, worry about authentic learning. If you do this, it is very likely that good grades will follow.”

What is your favorite way to destress?

“My favorite way to destress is to listen to music, read for fun, take long walks, do some cooking, or watch an inspirational film. I also like to hit the drums since it is a hobby of mine – this activity in particular helps me to have great fun and release frustrations and stress.”

Ms. Kim (Math 2, Math 3)

What would you say to students who are anxious about tests and exams?

“Relax…just do your best.”

What is a time-management strategy you recommend?

“Do not procrastinate and go to tutoring [sessions] right away so you do not fall behind. Do not wait till the day before the exam to get help. Make sure you do all your homework and learn from your mistakes.”

How did you manage multiple deadlines as a student?

“I created my own deadlines a week before just in case something comes up and I need more time.”

Would you rather do 100 factoring questions or solve 100 quadratic equations and why?

“I would rather do 100 factoring questions than solve 100 quadratic equations because solving requires extra steps.”

Mrs. Shin (Math 2 Honors, Korean)

What would you like to say to your students as the third grading period begins?

“Great job completing the first two grading periods!  It is not done until it is done. Persevere in solving difficult problems and do not give up.”

In terms of study habits, what habits should students develop as final exams approach?

“Students should work out all homework problems step by step daily, check their answers, and try to understand why and figure out how.”

How should students study more effectively for math in the final grading period?

“Learning mathematics does not happen overnight. Look over your notes and homework.  Check if your answers are correct. If you made a mistake, find out why it was wrong and find a way to solve it correctly.  Keep trying until you get it.  Ask yourself a question and try to answer your own question. If you cannot answer it yourself, ask your friend or ask your teacher.”

What is your favorite function in math and why?

“My favorite function is a piecewise function because I can have multiple functions combined.”

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