By Laura Bustos Martinez
Final exams are just around the corner and in the upcoming week study plays an important role in student lives.
Final exam week can be stressful.
According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, 30 percent of students said that stress had negatively affected their academic performance within the past year, and more than a 85 percent had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year.
Teresa Ceselski, Director of the Counseling Center, said not to procrastinate.
“Do not wait until the last minute to study,” she said. “I know that sounds like a broken record, but it always remains true.”
Ceselski recommends to take some time every day to review notes.
“The more you review,” she said, “the more you will retain information.”
She also advises to schedule time in between study periods, in order to “do something you enjoy (not drinking), go for a walk, visit with friends, play a short video game, something that gives your brain a happy break,” Ceselski said.
Study periods help to optimize the time students spend on studying as they come back to their studies refreshed.
In college, there can be many distractions studying, such as studying in the dorm.
“If this is your problem,” Ceselski said, “then go to the library or study centers, which can put your brain in the right frame of mind to work and not play.”
“The other major help in studying is making sure you are eating well and getting enough sleep,” she added.
The Learning Center provides academic support and offers is free peer tutoring.
Damjan Todorovic, MVC student and math tutor, knows what to do for the final week.
“First realize the situation you’re in,” he said. “Then cry a lot, let it all out. After you clear your head, make a plan of what you need to do. Write everything down, and try to create the best possible schedule that will lead you to your goals.”
Time takes an important place in studying.
“Be aware that you don’t have much time,” Todorovic said, “and that you need to manage it smartly. Try to avoid any social media during that time, and be focused on your goals constantly.”
“Go over your notes, meet with professors, meet with tutors in the learning center. Also, it’s really important to stay active. Even though you need to study a lot, you still need some time off, which you should use for activities that will distract your mind from studying for some time, and also you need to sleep. Be relaxed, and confident. Believe in yourself and you’ll be alright,” he added.
Tamika Drake, MVC Student Success Counselor, advices for finals week to know everything about the exam.
The subject matter that will be covered, “Will it be a comprehensive (covering all topics) or over a particular chapter,” she said.
The type of exam. Essay exam, multiple choice, open-book/note exam, take home exam, Case-study exam, oral exam.
Drake said to know the strengths and go for them in the exam.
“Know how many points the exam is worth,” Drake said. “Maybe you attempt the sections of the exam that are worth the most points first or maybe you attempt the multiple choice first.”
“Go to see your professor the week before and go over the questions you’ve found on past tests and quizzes or go over Review Guides if you still have questions,” she added. “Don’t expect Professors to give all answers from the entire Semester. That’s what office hours and emails to set up appointments are for during the entire semester.”
Students also have problems in their daily life apart from exams, and those problems do not stop for finals week.
“I advise people to look at problems and determine ‘Do I have control over this problem or is it out of my control?’” Ceselski said. “If the problem is outside of your control, then no amount of worrying is going to change the outcome and there comes a time to accept that. If it is a problem you have control over, then is it imminent that it needs a solution, right away, or can it wait until after finals?”
“If the problem needs to be resolved now,” she added, “then schedule a time to work on the problem, not just worry about it, but come up with some possible solutions.”
She also recommends to schedule time to meet with a friend to talk about it. Students can also go to talk with Ceselski, the counselor, “and together we can possibly come up with some solutions together,” she said.
Students having trouble can reach professors, who have office hours for students to ask questions and go over problems. Furthermore, Director of Student Success Debbie Coleman can help with any learning adjustments needed, with proper documentation in the Student Success office.
Extended hours at the library for studying and work in computer labs are available for students. But other buildings are also accessible.
“Malcolm is open 24 hours,” Drake said, “so that students have an opportunity to work off stress.”
“Student organizations such as FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), BSU (Black Student Union), and the various subject matter clubs can also be sources for help from upperclassmen, faculty reps, and Athletic Coaches,” she added.
In college, finals are a predictable part of every semester.
“Learn positive study skills now so that each following semester,” Ceselski said, “you will continue to improve and though stress will never completely disappear, you will feel more confident in yourself and your capabilities.”
Drake said to breath. “10 deep breaths before you start. Relax, look away to refocus. Be confident. Knock it out.”