As the semester winds down, the ever-dreaded final exam season is rapidly approaching. University of New Mexico student Jazmine Villescas, a senior in the biology program, took a short break from studying at Zimmerman Library to give Daily Lobo readers some tips for getting through finals week.

Plan out study time ahead of exams

A crucial step in preparing for finals is simply knowing when your exams are so you can budget your time accordingly, Villescas said.

Knowing whether each test will be cumulative or only based on the most recent course material is also very important, according to Villescas.

“You’ll know what to focus on: if you need to review all of your notes or just what’s recently been going on,” Villescas said.

Laying out this simple but vital information ahead of exams helps to plan out how much time needs to be set aside to study for each exam, she said. This allows you to prioritize which exams to allot the most study time to.

Find quiet spaces to work

With distractions in abundance, fully dedicating time and energy to long study sessions can prove difficult for many students. Villescas recommended being mindful of your study habits and finding a distraction-free place to study to increase productivity.

“For me personally, I know I can’t study at my dorm or my house. I need to come to a quiet place,” Villescas said.

Villescas said Zimmerman Library, particularly the West Wing, is an ideal, distraction-free study space on campus.

Utilize study guides

Villescas said study guides are tremendously helpful to establish a thorough understanding of the final exam material ahead of time. She recommended utilizing study guides that may be provided by professors to take notes on course material.

Even if the professor does not provide a study guide, Villescas said making one for yourself is extremely beneficial.

“If they don’t have one, make your own one up based on your textbook … That helps refresh your memory and test yourself on all that material,” Villescas said.

Form study groups

Villescas backed pursuing collaborations with classmates to review exam material. She said studying with classmates is especially helpful because it gives you an opportunity to ensure that you can clearly articulate the concepts to others as well as check your own understanding. 

“It helps if I’m able to explain the material to somebody else — then I really know that I understood the material,” Villescas said.

Study groups create a supportive atmosphere for peers to motivate and encourage each other to push through the exam preparation and succeed during finals week, according to Villescas. 

Mentally prepare yourself

Self-care can often be forgotten during stressful times, which is why Villescas advocated for taking time to prioritize your mental health before going into your exams.

“Make sure you’re checking on your mental health; that you yourself are going into the exam feeling good, not necessarily feeling stressed,” Villescas said.

UNM’s Therapy Assistance Online has several self-directed mindfulness and stress management modules available to students to mentally prepare for exam season.

“I know when I go into exams feeling really nervous, I tend to overstress and I don’t do as good, versus if I’m making sure my mental health going into it is good, I feel a lot better going in and coming out of it,” Villescas said.

With the start of finals week approaching quickly, Villescas is ready to tackle the challenge head on and encourages other students to do the same.

Zara Roy is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @zarazzledazzle