Need help studying for finals? Ask Aquinas

Here’s how Aquinas staff members prepare for finals:

The best way to prepare for finals is to rely on your notes. Solid note taking goes a long way for studying. If you put in the work during class, it will pay off when studying. I prefer to cram before a test instead of gradually studying. Cramming allows you to commit the material to memory for a short amount of time, which means you have to start studying relatively close to the test. I like to study everything the night before because I already understand the broad concepts of the material. Focusing on the big ideas in class can let you study the fine details the night before. I also feel that the nervousness of having a deadline helps me to focus on the material in a positive way. When I study well in advance of the test, my studying is often unfocused. Studying the night before can help you to memorize the information you need and help sort out the material you don’t need to study. The only stipulation I would add to cramming is that you need to give yourself enough time to study before going to sleep. Sleep is important for studying and a good night of sleep can go a long way to improving your test results.
— Alex Nunez

Personally, when I study, I cram everything in. I am a procrastinator, and I have been since high school. I tend to study by myself. Lately, I have been trying to realistically space my assignments rather than spend six hours on one because half of that time is spent staring at the screen, trying to process what I was even trying to do. I strictly do my notes in Google Docs, in bold, in Times News Roman point 12, and in red. I read somewhere that red text helps you remember more, and I have been doing it since. While studying, I’ll also go in different positions while studying. I found that I have difficulty staying in one seat, and I get antsy, so I will go from my kitchen table to the couch, and there I will sit and then lay for a bit while typing. If I get tired of being on my laptop, I will switch over and study on my phone, and if I am tired of electronics in general, I will switch over to the classic pen and paper, and I will transfer it over to my laptop. All the while, I do listen to music which is usually some sort of classical music or instrumental studio ghibli music with a rain background. Another thing I do is that I also have a fidget because I play with my hands a lot, they need to do something, and I found a fidget to be helpful. The one I have specifically is similar to a makeshift Rubick’s Cube. If I, for some reason, need a break from studying, then I will usually watch youtube or play either video games or with my dog. Afterward, I get back to it until it is finished.
— Leandria E. Hercules

If you could write a list of all the different ways people should not study for finals, that is exactly how I study for finals. Hey, I can’t complain though, it gets the job done. So, like every good procrastinator, I usually save my studying for either the night before, or if i feel like I want to spice things up, the morning of the finals. Most people stay up all night, whereas I usually like waking up at an egregiously early time for my studying, especially if it is the morning of the exam. I’d lock myself in my apartment room and toil away for hours, caged like some sort of hermit. If, and only if I get at the very least a majority of my work done, then I would treat myself to coffee and breakfast, either during late night or for breakfast, depending on the time of day. During the semester I maybe drink coffee 5 or 6 times total, but during finals week I am a caffeine fiend. This is how I study, and though it absolutely sucks, I’ve been very successful with it, so I am definitely not changing that now.
— Phillip Schoch

I’m an audio-centric learner, so I’ve found that doing a voice recording of me speaking my notes for a class and then listening to that recording leading up to the exam helps me absorb and recall the information easier. I also think writing out definitions or fill in the blank questions on index cards adds an extra layer of memorization to my studying methods. When I put all of these tricks together, I’ve got audio, visual and muscle memory from writing out the answers to work with! It’s been super helpful, so I’d recommend finding out what kind of learner you are and then adopting one (or all) of these habits for yourself.
— Kyra M. Krzywicki