Students share finals week study tips, tricks, and lessons learned

We asked Hopkins students for some end-of-semester wisdom. This is what they told us.

Composite image of students

Credit: Photos by Jacob deNobel

Without a game plan for tackling the challenges ahead, the end of the semester can be a stressful time.

For those about to take their first finals—or those simply looking for an extra tip or two—we asked Hopkins students to tell us how they make it through finals week with their health, happiness, and GPA intact.

Niles Ribiero

Niles Ribeiro

Junior mechanical engineering major

"The thing I've found is most important is waking up early during finals period. That way, the library and the crowded study spots are empty, and you can get a good spot and focus. It also helps force me to get enough sleep."

Top tips

  • Track how each day is spent in Google Calendar
  • Utilize professor's office hours for lingering questions
  • Split your study time between working alone and collaborating with others in your major
Alexander Ioakimidis

Alexander Ioakimidis

Graduate student, philosophy

"I have a Chrome extension that shuts down any webpage that's not on my study list after about 20 seconds. It's all about mindfulness. You can't not notice you're distracted when your Wikipedia page for, say, 'Turtles of the Australian Sea' shuts down after 20 seconds."

Top tips

  • Eat a healthy diet to stay energetic and alert
  • Set up a script to shut down your computer automatically at midnight every night
  • Create a schedule of when you're going to work on each subject and stick to it
Cory Ohrandzansky and Margaret Dearey

Margaret Dearey and Cory Ohrandzansky

Senior public health and Spanish major and senior public health major

"The worst thing I ever did was staying up all night," Dearey said. "I fell asleep during a test freshman year. I always try to tell freshmen that it's not worth staying up until 5 in the morning. You're going to do worse if you don't get sleep. I'm a big eight-hours person."

"What's the saying? Pain is temporary, but GPA is forever?" said Ohrandzansky.

"I hate that saying. That's a freshman saying. It's nonsense."

Top tips

  • Refresh yourself on subject matter with resources like Khan Academy on YouTube
  • Exercise every day
  • Do your studying two days in advance and relax the night before the test

Huseyin Gungor

Graduate student, philosophy

"Always set a schedule, but also be ahead of schedule. Be ahead of deadlines. Then if anything unexpected happens you still have wiggle room."

Top tips

  • Descend to the lowest levels of the library for solitude while studying
  • Study just a little bit harder than you feel you need to
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help if something doesn't make sense
Akaash Sanyal

Akaash Sanyal

Junior biomedical engineering major

"The most helpful thing for me is studying with others. Teaching someone is one of the greatest ways to study, and when you're being taught it's coming in a different way than the professor sees it."

Top tips

  • As a study break, hook your laptop up to the classroom projector and enjoy a quick episode of a TV show before diving back into work
  • Stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel and keep your spirits up
  • Get off the computer and work with pen and paper for a new perspective

Teya Bergamaschi

Junior biomedical engineering major

"I think getting out of the library and going literally anywhere else on campus is good. If you can find a classroom to study with your friends, be collaborative, and work on the boards, that's great!"

Top tips

  • Take time to get off campus to revitalize
  • Dedicate half-days to subjects to space out large projects and avoid burnout
  • Attend the Lighting of the Quads (scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10) to get away from the books and relax for a night
Angela Hussain

Angela Hussain

First-year molecular and cellular biology major

"I haven't been looking for advice on how to get through finals, but people keep giving it to me either way. Since they've been through it before, they've got a little extra insight."

Top tips

  • Take one class at a time. Don't try and combine everything into one large study session
  • Use Christmas movies to unwind between study sessions
  • Use Quizlet for flash cards
A student smiles on a bench

Janice Choi

Sophomore biophysics major

"I feel like you don't realize these things actually help until you go through it once and realize how bad your habits are. People tell you 'get enough sleep' and you're like 'yeah, yeah, whatever,' but then you don't do well and you learn for the next time."

Top tips

  • Use winter break as the hopeful light at the end of the tunnel
  • Start studying before classes end
  • Determine if relaxing is actually helping you relax or if you're just procrastinating studying

Posted in Student Life