Tips, tricks for how Iona students can ace their finals

Katherine Daly, Staff Writer

Finals season is officially upon us. It is the final stretch of the semester, and for some students this time could make or break their GPA. Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, you always want to finish the school year strong, but finals week tends to cause stress and anxiety. Although you faced important exams in high school, college finals always seem much more daunting. However, there’s no need to freak out! There are several study tips that can help you conquer your finals.


  1. Stay focused and take your time 

Distractions are your worst enemy when it comes to studying for your finals. It’s easy to overlook that factor when cramming for a test.

“It’s a terrible idea,” junior Christa Ryan said. “Just try and avoid cramming if possible.”

The best way to avoid this is to plan ahead and not procrastinate, because this way you still have more time to study if a distraction comes up. Instead of cramming everything in one day and risking that you will not fully understand the materials, take a logical first step and start studying in intervals. Set a timer for 30 to 60 minutes and start studying, as slow and steady always wins the race.

  1. Eat something 

Almost everybody knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet many avoid it during finals week. Maybe you don’t eat as much when you’re nervous. However, you should still make the effort, even if you feel like butterflies are dancing in your stomach. It is important that you have energy for your exam, especially if it’s a long one. Foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are ideal for the day of a test. A long exam is like a mental marathon where you need energy and endurance, which just emphasizes the importance of eating before a test.

  1. Change your studying spots

Every once in a while, it’s good to shake up your study spot! Having the same routine in the same place can be boring and cause you to lose focus. There are so many places you can study on campus, so why stick to just one?

“Spending all day in the library can sometimes drain you,” junior MaryKate Hall said.

Your brain can pick up on both what it is trying to study and what’s going on in the background, subsequently distracting you from what needs to be done. Simply changing your surroundings can cut down on distractions and allow you to study better. Your brain will be able to focus more on the material, without the background noise.

You can split up studying between places like the library, your bedroom or Starbucks, but if you really need a change of scenery you should try to think outside the box. The warmer weather and sunshine may be motivating for you; there are plenty of tables and benches around campus for you to study outside. East Hill is a popular spot as well. If you’re looking to stay inside, the LaPenta Student Union offers plenty of study spots with its lounges and computer labs. Lounges in the dorm buildings also might provide a good escape for a late-night study session when you don’t want to travel across campus.

  1. Buckle down and study

All the prior tips were good steps towards doing better on your finals, but the most important tip of all is to actually put in the time and study the material. It can be overwhelming, but studying the material is the only way to ensure you can do your best on the exam.

“Students should always be prepared for finals,” freshman Jaiell Taylor said. “I usually start studying with the help of flashcards and notes.”

There are many different studying techniques you can use. You can study by testing yourself. Making up practice questions for you and your friends to share is also a good idea. Some try re-reading and highlighting important chapters. Figure out what works for you, because these little techniques will boost your performance on the final.

  1. Change your attitude

Final exams can be extremely stressful and nerve-wracking. While some stress can actually be helpful, being too nervous or having anxiety can become problematic. So, with less than three weeks left in the semester, it’s time to focus on how to fix this issue. It probably couldn’t hurt to change the way you think about taking tests.

“Just remember a test can’t predict your future no matter what you think it means,” junior Anthony Piacquadio said.

Just give yourself reminders that it is only a test and there will be others in the future. Remind yourself that it won’t make or break you. Positive thinking will always help and there’s so many ways to do it.

“Give yourself credit,” senior Justin Cohan said. “Think of all the hard work you have done already.”

Don’t forget about yourself and what you need. This means giving yourself all the positivity you can muster, because that’s what will help you get rid of your nerves.

It’s all about you and what you can do. Training yourself to focus, to have a plan and to be confident in your abilities are just some easy steps. And at the end of the day, just do your best. Good luck!