Final Exams: Love Them or Hate Them?
Our school allows all students with an A average to be exempt this year! It used to be only seniors had this privilege. Our district is trying to move to a Mastery Based Learning approach, but we are in between, and so final exams are still a requirement. So how can we review?
1. Find A Partner
My first recommendation for creating an effective final exams review is to partner up with a trusted colleague who is teaching the same course as you. Not everyone has this luxury, and if you don’t, maybe you could create a trade deal. It could be that you will make the Year 2 review materials and a colleague will make the Year 1 Review Materials, and you will share!
It saves a lot of time!
2. Study Guide
The first step to a successful review for Final Exams is to create a study guide. A great study guide should include:
-An explanation of the parts of the exam: Break down the skills and topics of the different sections of the exam. These are often skills like reading, writing, listening and speaking.
-What format the questions will be in for each section. (MCQ, multiple choice, recording, etc.)
-What topic each section will focus on (travel, accidents and injuries, etc.)
-How many points each section is worth
-The rubrics that will be used (if appropriate)
Next include a table listing the specific things they need to know on this exam. This is where I spell out what tenses they will see, hear or write in, what vocabulary they should review.
I also include where to find the study materials they need. I give a print out of all grammar notes and vocab lists during the year, but I also post them in Google Classroom. This year, I created a new topic for Final Exam and I moved all of these study materials (along with Quizlets) to that heading for one-stop shopping!
Last, I create a list of suggestions for HOW TO review for Final Exams. High school students generally are not used to studying for large or cumulative exams. My high school sophomores have never taken a Final Exam because of Covid. They need to learn the study skills that will create a successful experience with a Final Exam.
Next I create a Review Packet! Spoiler alert: Instead of spending HOURS re-inventing the wheel, a lot of what I include in this packet are things I recycle from other points in the school year. Here are some suggestions that my students asked me to include:
–Mad Minute conjugating practice
-Vocab Lists with the Spanish words taken out (so they can fill them in and test themselves)
-A practice listening (with questions that mimic the format on the exam)
-A practice reading (with questions that mimic the format on the exam)
-short writing prompts with vocab suggestions given
I always reserve at least one day in class for students to work on this packet before the exam. I decided to post it electronically this year because A) it was long and B) I was able to link in websites and Google Forms for listening and reading activities I had already created for earlier in the year, and was recycling!
If you’re ambitious, you can create an answer key to go with it!
Let’s face it: Review packets can be effective, yet dull! I always reserve one day right before exams to play vocab Bingo! It’s so much fun!!! I give all students a blank Bingo sheet. I give them all a list of terms (high frequency words from the themes we’ve studied this year). They create their own Bingo card with words they need to review.
When I call Bingo, I use the English word and make them translate it. They are allowed to ask if they’re not sure. It’s a fun way to personalize review for individuals, and prizes never hurt!
Digital Escape Room
My last suggestion is a Digital Escape Room! There are so many ways to create one of these! It would be possible to practice just about anything using this technique. They can be time-consuming to create, and there is a learning curve involved. But they are so engaging to students!
I plan to use THIS ONE that I created for students who do not need to take the exam because they are exempt. The premise is that a thief broke into the Barcelona Soccer Museum and stole Leo Messi’s jersey and cleats. Students must solve clues to help find the missing items. The clues take them on a journey throughout Spain, and they learn about different aspects of Spanish culture, geography, architecture, etc. It’s not specific to certain skills or vocabulary we learned this year, but it highlights some of the awesome things about Spain! It will be perfect for kids who need to be in class, but don’t need to complete a review packet!
Spanish Verb Conjugating: Minuto Loco Print or Digital!
Spanish Digital Escape Room for Any Level: Spanish and English Versions!
Spanish Slang Bundle! Fun Resources!