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It's that time

Tips from your professors on crushing your finals

By JENNA DANIEL/VN NEWS EDITOR
On December 10, 2015

 

With exams beginning Tuesday, Dec. 15, crunch time has begun.

“I always have a lot of anxiety when final exams come around,” said Paige Dykema, a senior biology student. “But I make lists and take regular breaks to power through.”

Most professors would agree that exams are nothing to fear, but studying before them can be helpful.

“Pay attention to the things your professors spend a lot of time on in class,” said Dr. Prasad Venugopal of physics. “Most professors are not out to trick you. We are pretty predictable. If you attend class and take notes, you should know the majority of what will be on the exam.”

Preparing for the exam should be done from the beginning, according to professors.

“The best study tactic is to have been studying all along. Little bits of work every day is the key,” said Dr. Matt Mio of chemistry. “Sometimes, I tell students who ask about how to study this late in the term that they need to invent a time machine and go back to September to start over.”

Of course, traveling back to September is unrealistic, but there are helpful methods to study before exams.

“Read your book. Many times it will explain similar topics discussed in class in a different manor,” said Dr. Jacob Kagey of biology. “And work in groups. Discussion is good, and you can really learn a subject when you have to teach it or discuss it with others.”

Working in groups is a common study tip, as is reviewing class notes. 

“Organize your notes, handouts, readings, and study guides, preferably throughout the semester,” said professor Cynthia Langham of communication studies. “Find an appropriate location to study with no distractions, re-write or highlight notes, and prepare flash cards to quiz yourself, and have others quiz you.”

Using previous exams, quizzes and homework can be helpful tools for remembering specific problems and concepts.

“Make use of any study aids provided by the professor, such as study guides or review sheets,” said Dr. Beth Oljar of philosophy. “Reviewing the midterm exam to see the kinds of questions that get asked is also a good idea. If a student has taken good notes in class throughout the semester, then those should be the focus of study.”

Dr. Mary-Catherine Harrison of the English department takes a different approach. 

She uses a quiz called “Mastering the Science of Learning.” 

The quiz gives several scenarios and multiple choice answers to help students find the best ways to study. It is based on  the books “How Good Are You at Teaching the Art of Learning” by Benedict Carey and “How Does the Brain Learn Best? Smart Studying Strategies” by Ingfei Chen.

“Do not panic,” added professor Prasad. “When it comes to cumulative exams, most classes start at a base and build on that, so your brain actually does remember more than you think. I remember panicking when I was a student, but panicking does not help anything. And always get a good night’s rest, but don’t show up to the exam in your jammies.”

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