Finals can be stressful, even for the most organized of students. There’s so much to remember and a lot to manage as students tackle their exams and final projects in the last weeks of the semester.

Laura Diaz Coronado

Laura Diaz Coronado

Laura Diaz Coronado, a peer tutor with the College of Charleston’s Center for Student Learning (CSL), says a little bit of studying over a few days will go a long way, so you shouldn’t wait to start preparing for finals.

“The most important thing to keep in mind during exams is to start studying ahead of time,” she says.

Diaz, a double-major in computer information systems and music with a concentration in violin performance and music history, has been a tutor with the CSL since 2019, offering support to fellow students in Spanish as well as computer science. She also staffs the CSL’s front desk.

“My favorite part about tutoring is helping students,” she says. “I am a student as well, so I know sometimes we struggle in an assignment or we need somebody else to go through exam material to brainstorm together about possible solutions. The satisfaction of helping a student who needs guidance in the topics that I am passionate about is indescribable.”

With finals taking place April 28–May 3, 2023, Diaz recommends the following tips so students can ace their exams.

Pace Yourself: “There are several studies that say that our brain can fully focus for 45 minutes; after that, the brain starts losing steam,” says Diaz. “So, if we start preparing material to study one week before and use these precious 45 minutes every day until the day of the exam, it is most likely you will be prepared.”

Take Breaks: Going for a walk or any physical activity can help relax your mind and body, making it easier for you to study and retain information.

Flash Cards: They are tried and true! Diaz says flash cards are helpful for learning anything from vocabulary to concepts. Have a friend quiz you, and make it fun – kind of like you’re on Jeopardy!

Summarize: Creating a summary of the different topics learned in a class over the semester can help you organize the material and better commit it to memory.

Revisit the Past: The most effective study tip, particularly for math or computer programming courses, says Diaz, is to do past homework or take previous tests again without looking at the solutions. This reinforces skills that you already have, and helps you increase the speed of your critical thinking and speed of solutions.