Yufei Wang/Sun Contributor

With finals approaching, upperclassman students shared their experiences and advice for younger students.

May 2, 2023

As Finals Season Approaches, Upperclassmen Share Advice on Navigating Cornell Exams

Print More

As spring semester classes conclude and students look ahead toward the final exam period, juniors and seniors reflect upon best practices for navigating the last few weeks of the semester that they have gathered during their time at Cornell.

For many students, time management and balancing the coursework from different classes was a crucial factor in finals success. 

Aisosa Aigbe ’24, who studies biomedical engineering, said time is of the essence for her, and starting the studying process early helps to keep herself from getting stressed over exams.

“You need to start studying early, sleep well and eat well,” Aigbe said. “Try not to be too overwhelmed. Many of these people [students] have been in your shoes [when it comes to finals] and we always think that it is the end of the world.”

Tyler Brown ’23 echoed Aigbe, advising students not to rush assignments and discouraging them from sacrificing self-care to prioritize studying for their finals.

“Take things slowly,” Brown said, “Talk to your friends — don’t just be alone. Definitely eat, sleep and avoid all-nighters unless absolutely necessary.” 

Brown also pointed out that desperate times call for desperate measures, and it might sometimes be necessary to take an incomplete on an assignment to prioritize others with more pressing deadlines. 

Faith Shote ’24, who studies environment and sustainability, encouraged organization and said that while it may be easy to waste time without the structure of a class schedule, creating a sense of order is something she finds beneficial. She stressed that having a routine or a schedule is vital to study in a productive way. 

Michael Solazzo ’24, a viticulture and enology major, concurred with Shote, suggesting that students build themselves a schedule and adhere to it. 

“I have a schedule….a routine that I do before every exam, to wake up early, shower, get breakfast and then start my day,” Solazzo said. 

Solazzo also highlighted the significance of rest, identifying the dangers of bad sleeping habits and their detriment during an already strenuous time. He emphasized the ineffectiveness of depriving yourself of sleep before an exam.

“This might sound counterintuitive, but going to bed early helps me,” Solazzo said. “Also, try not to overdo studying. You might ultimately do more damage for yourself if you decide to stay up, only getting three hours of sleep the night before your exam.”

Though the barrage of exams and end-of-year activities running from May 10 to May 20 can feel overwhelming to students, Cornell upperclassmen assured their younger peers that this stressful time will pass. 

“Everything balances out — the highs and the lows,” Aigbe said. “It really is not the end of the world. Just take care of yourself.”