Study strategies for final exams

Courtney Banks, Contributing Writer

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, many students are beginning to feel increased stress about grades and final exams. Final exams, culminating course projects or final papers can prompt students to feel very anxious, especially when these exams, papers and projects compose a large chunk of students’ grades. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed this time of year, but there are resources on campus and tools that students can utilize to make these last few weeks of school as stress-free as possible. 

When it comes to exams and final projects, students shouldn’t expect to be able to completely transform their grades with a single assignment – especially if they’ve missed several classes and failed to keep up with homework assignments. Although it might be annoying to hear, and unhelpful for students who may have spent part of the semester slacking, one of the best ways to prepare for exams is to have been an active student during the semester. Relatedly, students should set reasonable goals for how they expect to do on these exams, projects and papers. 

“Our biggest piece of advice for doing well on final assignments is not about content,” Laura Lanwermeyer, TLC Interim Co-Director for Student Learning Support said. “Students should first identify their goals with intention – meaning identify strengths and weaknesses as well as possible barriers and resources to overcome them – and then make a plan to reach those goals.” 

Setting goals and making a plan to help reach those goals is a good strategy for students, especially if they don’t know where to start. Similarly, thinking about these final assignments now rather than the days before they are due can make a big difference. Putting in a little work ahead of time can save a lot of stress when assignments are due. 

“Our overall goal for students is that they ‘Work Smarter,’ Lanwermeyer said.

The TLC offers a variety of tools for students that are available on the University website. Some of these resources include an informational video “Planning for Finals” as well as  “Backwards Planning for Finals, Spring 2022” which contains study strategies as well as a calendar to help students plan out their studying. 

Students who are working on final papers can also head to the Writing Center in Room 110 of the Carnegie Building. The Writing Center can help students at any phase of their writing process and can significantly improve papers and give students useful strategies to improve their writing overall. Appointments can be made online, by phone or simply by walking in.

The end of the semester is a stressful time for everyone, but luckily the University provides students with resources that can help them to prepare for and do well on final assignments. When in doubt, it’s always good to start thinking about culminating course projects, papers and exams ahead of time and create concrete goals and plans. Finally, students should remember that not doing as well as you hoped to do in a class isn’t the end of the world. Students are more than their grades, and success can be measured in many different ways. 

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