Hard at work, business marketing senior Josselyn Cervantes studied for hours on end in preparation for her final exams. As the hours went by, Cervantes realized she was burning out and was unable to keep focusing on her notes.
“I realized I had to stop and I thought, ‘Why don’t I make myself some tea and watch my favorite show for a little? I can always get back to work later,’” Cervantes said.
Now Cervantes knows when to take a step back and refresh her mind.
Cervantes was one of 10 students and learning specialists at Texas A&M University-San Antonio who offered tips and tricks on how to successfully get through Finals Week May 9-14.
Kinesiology senior Andrew Olguin, a student worker at the Student Success Center, recommends taking advantage of campus resources.
“Utilize our space,” Olguin said. “We have a wide variety of resources especially as the semester ends. We are still open. Student success is our No. 1 goal and we aim to help you pass your finals.”
The Student Success Center, located in modular C, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
His final tip for students: “Create a study group. Not only is it a great way to learn the materials, but also make friends.”
Iris Castillo, Student Government Association vice president and senior at A&M-San Antonio, suggested reviewing notes, study guides and previous quizzes or tests. She recommended downloading the GoodNotes app because it helps organize notes.
Castillo, a senior majoring in child development and minoring in education, shared the importance of getting questions answered so students are ready on exam day. Sleep also makes a difference, and students are able to focus and concentrate better when they are able to get those extra hours.
Sarah Wright, a librarian specialist at A&M-San Antonio, said students definitely need to eat.
“You don’t want to go in thinking about food, and always bring your water,” Wright said.
University library resources
During finals weeks A&M-San Antonio will be extending the library hours 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Friday. The library is on the second floor of the Central Academic Building. Students are welcome to go to the library to study; there are many open spaces and resources. Staff can give basic help such as research and can also assist in helping study materials.
The library also offers course reserves, which are study materials such as books and study guides brought in by professors; these are arranged by classes in the library and can be requested at the front desk with the librarian. Study rooms are offered in the library as well and need to be booked up to 24 hours in advance.
For more information about the campus library, visit https://www.tamusa.edu/library/.
Cervantes encourages students to give themselves breaks between long bouts of studying for finals.
“If I have to pull all-nighters, I will,” Cervantes admitted. “But I like to give myself breaks in between studying just so I don’t burn out and I don’t overstimulate my brain.”
Cervantes said she will study for roughly four to five hours before taking one-hour breaks.
Olguin also sees benefits to just relaxing and taking breaks.
“Relax,” Olguin said. “You have studied all semester for your tests. Trust yourself and your notes. You got this.”
Transfer student Priscilla Cerritos, an interdisciplinary senior, is ready to take her final exams at A&M-San Antonio.
“I know it being my senior year, I feel burnt out all the time and just want to do the bare minimum, but I know I can’t do that,” Cerritos said. “It’s like I know I’m almost done, so on study days I try to take 20-25 minute breaks every hour.“
Charidi Stevens, a computer science sophomore, says the worst thing a student can do before a final is not study.
“To prepare for my finals I’ve been looking through all of my PowerPoints, homeworks and past quizzes,” Stevens said.
Students share helpful studying tips
English senior Patricia Garcia said she isn’t ready for finals that are coming up.
“I plan on doing a cram study session for each of my classes,” Garcia said
Garcia said she prefers group projects and multiple-choice final exams.
Communication junior Emily Solis said she also isn’t ready for any of her finals.
However, she offered advice to students as they prepare.
“Start studying ahead of time and cut out a piece of your day to solely focus on studying that final,” Solis said
Sthefany Garcia, a Writing Center liaison at A&M San Antonio, said when it comes to essay exams, students should focus and understand what type of writing practices will suit them best.
“Are you the type of person who needs to make an outline first or are you the type of person who can just start writing and then do a reverse outline?” Garcia said.
Garcia recommends students look over their notes, get a good nights sleep and show up early to classes to avoid making a mistake, missing class or failing their finals.
Students are free to go to the Writing Center in Room 208 of the Central Academic Building to get help with any part of the writing process.
“You don’t necessarily need a draft to come into the Writing Center,” Garcia said. “Even if you just don’t understand your assignment sheet, you can stop by and we can help you understand it, brainstorm and create an outline.”
Megan Gonzales, the test administrator from the Testing Center at A&M-San Antonio, advised students shouldn’t wait until the last minute to study.
“I tried that once and it was not a good idea,” Gonzales said.
Students should create an outline for each subject they are studying and create flashcards with concepts and definitions. Reviewing old assignments or feedback as a study guide can be just as helpful for finals too.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 210-748-1222 or visit Jagwire to make an appointment.
Contributors: Natali Acha, Xochilt Garcia, Perla Banda Trillo, LaShanna Cates, Karen Dueñas, Dorian Gonzalez and Michael Rivera.