The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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How to survive final exams

Don’t panic. Yes, finals are a big deal because they are a big chunk of the final grade. And yes, finals can take three hours to complete, not to mention the amount of time it takes to prepare for them. And yes, finals can be cumulative. But students can survive them.

The Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center has provided students with “finals packets” in an effort to help them succeed. The LEC designed these packets so students can have a more organized way of tackling the last exams of the semester.

Patricia Feldman, the associate director of the LEC, has one word of advice for students.

“Plan,” she said, “and plan on paper. This will stop the fear and get the momentum started.”

Finals can be a scary thing for most freshmen because these exams are new them, but with the proper planning and efficient studying, anyone can be on their way to achieving “A”s on all of exams.

The LEC suggests writing the dates and times of all your exams on a calendar. It will help students visualize their test dates. Next, buy all necessary supplies needed to take the final and prepare for it including pens, pencils, erasers, calculators, highlighters and index cards. Students need to prepare themselves before indulging into the tedious task of studying.

Students should prepare themselves to study before the day before their exam. They should use as much time as they can to study for their exams.

“Plan ahead and don’t wait till the last minute,” said Ben Koopferstock, academic resident assistant in Boaz. “If you wait until the last day to study for your final you won’t do as well.”

Once a student is prepared, they can begin studying for their tests.

According the LEC finals packet, studying does not mean rereading materials from class. Rereading is not studying; it’s rereading. The LEC suggests making summary sheets for tests and lecture notes: Boil ten pages of notes down to one and write the key topic at the top of the page. Students can also create mind maps (like spider webs or tree branches) rather than formal outlines. Or try making diagrams or flow charts to show a process or sequence of events. The possibilities are endless. Find the method that works best for you.

If a student is an auditory learner, however, and finds these methods don’t work for him or her, the LEC finals packet suggests that the student try reading notes aloud or discussing notes in study groups. The more a student hears the information, the longer that student will remember it.

Staying healthy is imperative for high test performance according to Jamila Benkato, the academic resident assistant in Smith and Perkins.

“Sleep,” said Benkato. “You are more productive if you study a few less hours and get more sleep than you are if you study a few more hours with less sleep.”

Scientifically speaking, a person’s brain processes information while sleeping, so pulling all nighters before a test will not benefit a student. The LEC suggests students get about eight hours of sleep before their exam. That’s enough sleep to get a student well rested and ready to take the test.

Benkato also said that eating healthy is another great way to stay alert for finals.

“Don’t just eat junk food and coffee to stay away,” Benkato said. “Eat an actual balanced meal with protein.”

For student help, the LEC is open during finals week for extra tutoring needs and for just a quiet place to study. Call the LEC for tutoring hours at 214-784-3648.

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