Wes 101: End-of-Term Tips/Exams
I write with some end-of-term tips about final exams in the hopes that they make this next week a bit easier.
As the term comes to a close, please remember to take care of yourselves, be considerate (you might not have anything due until Thursday, but the person who lives next door might have something due in three hours, etc.), and try to plan out your time in a semi-structured way so as to avoid doing too little or too much.
I therefore offer some words of advice:
Part One: Exams and Final Papers as Life Experiences
1. Keep perspective: The term will soon be over. Have confidence. Repeat to yourself often: “I can do it.” “I will destroy that test.” “I will write a paper that will blind my instructor with its dazzling brilliance.” “This course will soon be behind me and I will be sleeping late/seeing the new Star Wars movie/on my way to Europe, San Francisco, New Jersey, etc.”
2. Find the way and place you study best and the way that works for you. If that means blaring music (preferably with AirPods or the like) while you read over your notes, so be it. If that means you must find a sensory deprivation tank to write the paper, that’s okay, too. Do not compare yourself to others.
3. Take a break every day and know when and what it will be. Get a venti half-caf soy iced caramel macchiato with whipped cream and truffle shavings. Call home.
4. Get some sleep. The number one reason for poor exam performance is lack of sleep (which is not to say that you should sleep for the 22 hours prior to the exam).
5. Study with a purpose, particularly when reviewing a particular book or lecture notes. Study in digestible amounts. Schedule your time accordingly.
6. Be an active, engaged learner. Try to predict what the instructor will ask on the exam and spend time with your classmates discussing the material; research indicates that you can absorb (and apply) material in a deeper way by actively discussing it.
7. Eat fruits and vegetables, avoid scurvy.
8. Keep in mind the big picture of the course, its major themes. Exams are the occasion for you to pull together in a coherent way what you have learned. Look again at the syllabus to get a sense of the larger goals of the course. Be sure you did not miss any assigned reading or small print.
9. Sometimes changing study places can help. Avoid studying in your room—this is where you sleep, hang out, etc. It can a time management disaster waiting to happen if you study there as well.
10. Find someone to study with you who will not distract you the entire time but will keep you motivated.
Part Two: You’re in this together
1. Be thoughtful of the stress of others and their study needs (i.e., don’t play death metal at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday).
2. Know if your roommate should be awake. Help each other remember when exams are and use multiple alarms. I also recommend the clocky, the alarm clock with wheels (that will literally run away from you and hide).
3. Get up an hour or more before the exam starts to wake up sufficiently, eat breakfast (or lunch/dinner) and gather your thoughts.
Do your best and remember to breathe,
Jennifer Wood (she, her, hers)
Dean for the Class of 2023
203 North College, 237 High Street
Middletown, CT 06459
M 2-3, T 3-4, W 4-6, Th 11-12, F 2-4
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