Exams are looming! Projects are impending! Are you struggling to get motivated? Watch this video created by students from Indiana University Bloomington for some inspiration and encouragement! (It’s only 3 minutes so the ASC gives you permission to pause your studies to watch it!)
Proven Methods for Improved Final Exam Preparation and Focus
Based on a 2013 article by Shaniese Alston, Office of New Media of the State University of New York
- Say NO to cramming: Study in 20-50 minute increments and give yourself 5-10 minutes in between. By distributing learning over time versus cramming, you will typically gain more long-term retention of the material.
- Say YES to cardio: Research shows that just 20 minutes of cardio can improve your memory. Whether you opt to dance, jog, walk, bike or swim, exercise will increase your energy level and reduce the effects of stress.
- Eat superfoods/antioxidants: Everybody knows you should eat breakfast the day of a big test. Cameron Holloway, a senior clinical researcher at the University of Oxford suggests that high-carb, high-fiber, slow-digesting foods like oatmeal are best (oatmeal is more filling than cereal) and that eating a balanced diet that includes fruit and vegetables helps your brain hold steady.
- Alternate study spots: Shake up your finals routine! Spending all night in the library can be draining. According to the New York Times, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. Why? Supposedly, the brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time. Try alternating your study spots between the library, a study room, and a quiet coffee house.
- Time management: Cramming causes anxiety, which lowers your ability to retain information. By creating a balanced study plan and schedule, you will be able to study each subject in its entirety and ultimately boost your test performance.
- Avoid the all-nighter: According to a 2008 study by Pamela Thacher, Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Lawrence University, all-nighters impair reasoning and memory for as long as four days resulting in lower grades. According to Dan Taylor, director of a sleep-and-health-research lab at the University of North Texas, you should review the toughest material immediately before going to bed the night prior to the test. It makes it easier to recall the material later.
- MINIMIZE distractions: Research shows that while many students prefer to study while listening to music, texting friends, or watching television, they are less likely to retain information that way. If you must listen to music, stick to instrumental music and consider downloading these study tools to keep you focused!
- MAXIMIZE practice-testing: You may have thought highlighting, re-reading and summation would be effective ways to study. Think again! A 2013 study, Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques, found that these techniques do not consistently boost students’ performance. Practice testing through the use of flashcards, or taking practice exams was observed to be a highly effective studying technique.
Use these study tips to create and implement your own survival plan for finals week this semester. Need help or encouragement? Stop by the Academic Success Center in VanZoeren 261 for you own personalized study session.
Friday, April 12 is the last day to submit an application to for an ASC tutor. All applications must be received by 5:00 pm in the ASC office or on-line request form. If you have had a tutor last semester you must fill out a “returning tutee form” application first (please complete this by Thursday April 11, 5:00 pm.)
The Academic Success Center is offering a workshop on De-Cramming for Exams! Please join us on Tuesday, April 2, from 5:30- 6:30 pm in Maas Conference. We will have tips, tools and munchies that will help you coast confidently into the final weeks of the semester! Feel free to bring your dinner!
The Academic Success Center (ASC) will continue to take requests to get a tutor until April 12. Please see the ASC website for how to apply and typical courses tutored. If you had a tutor last semester you will only need to fill out an on-line request and an application will be emailed to you! If you did not have a tutor last semester you will need to complete an application and bring it to the ASC to make an appointment to receive information about tutoring expectations and your tutor’s contact information. It’s not too late! A tutor can still make a difference!
The ASC is taking recommendations from professors for tutors in their disciplines. If interested in becoming a tutor for the ASC, please contact a professor and have them send a recommendation to the firstname.lastname@example.org. Recommendations will be gathered through next week (3/22) and information meetings will be presented following Spring Break. The ASC usually hires between 50- 70 new tutors! The position is very flexible with a minimal number of hours a week required. Please see the ASC website to see if you qualify and ask a professor for a recommendation!
Midterm grades come out this week. Didn’t do as well as you’d like? Want to improve your grade? Just want to have a group to review and learn with?
Get an ASC Tutor! We will be hosting information sessions to get a tutor through next week, March 7. Meetings are Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:00 and 12:30 or Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 and 11:30 in VanZoeren 299. You only need to attend one or you can schedule an individual appointment in the ASC office. We will continue to take appointments through April 12. Although the sooner you apply the better!
The ASC also offers one time appointments (or multiple) to discuss study and test taking strategies. Contact our office if you would like to meet with one of us!
All ASC services are FREE!
Review & Reflect Regularly- What’s working? What’s not? Make a plan to adjust.
Don’t wait until you are doing poorly to seek out help- seek out resources before it’s too late to turn things around!
Many FREE resources are available to you:
Your professors and academic advisor
Your RA and/or RD
The Academic Success Center (ASC) will begin assigning tutors starting Wednesday January 16, 2019. If you are interested in applying for a tutor, please see the ASC website.
NEW this semester- if you had a tutor during the fall semester (FALL 2018 only) you may apply as a returning tutee. This will allow you to apply on-line and no information session will be required!
Continue to watch our blog for study tips and suggestions to help you be successful! We want you to have a great semester! Please stop by to see how we can help!
1. Divide up your time.
• Spend Time Studying for the Exams that Carry the Most Weight.
• Focus Your Time on Difficult Classes – spend the majority of your time on the classes where your grade is borderline.
2. Stay alert.
• Get a good night’s SLEEP! Your brain can’t function properly without 7-8 hours sleep a night.
• Run stairs or do some jumping-jacks. Exercise gets blood flowing and increases your alertness.
• It has been proven that the smell of cinnamon and peppermint can help you stay alert. So chew on some gum if you’re feeling worn out.
3. Remember what you study.
• Recite, recite, recite! Recitation will burn facts into your mind. Recite the material out loud until you’re sure that you will be able to recall it.
4. Study selectively.
• Decide which information is most important and concentrate on it. Resist the temptation to try and learn all of the important-looking material.
• As you go through your notes and textbook find important definitions, concepts and equations. Write them down on 3” X 5” note cards. This will help you identify what you need to know, and you’ll have a handy set of flash cards. The process of rewriting may also help you memorize the content.
5. Eat a good breakfast.
• Eat a good breakfast the morning of the exam. Nutritious foods will keep your nerves steady and your brain engaged.
Need help/encouragement? Stop by the Academic Success Center in VanZoeren 261 for your personalized study session and a free deck of ASC Final Exam Study Strategies cards.