Here are some tips on surviving finals week.
Plan ahead! When I have too many things going on in my head, I get overwhelmed. If I write down everything I need to do, it helps me to say organized. Before the start of finals week, I like to make a list of everything I have to do for each class. I’ll even organize it by the day of the week so that I can give myself a better handle on time management. This way I can give one assignment more priority over the other, depending on when it’s due.
If you can, study with friends! That math exam will seem a little more bearable if you have people to commiserate with. I also find that if you don’t know the answer, someone in the room will. It’s always better to laugh with your friends over that ridiculous topic you went over in class, than to stress about how difficult the exam will be.
Listen to music! Not only does music release endorphins, but it’s also a simple way to relieve some of that built up anxiety. If you feel the stress getting the best of you, take a ten-minute music break. I personally like to put on some fun upbeat eighties music and dance around my room lip-synching to “Love Shack”. It works every time.
Take food breaks! It’s important to keep yourself fueled throughout the week. If you skip dinner and head to the vending machine instead, you’re only refusing your body the energy it needs to get through the day. Skip the bag of chips, and get a burger instead.
Lastly and most importantly, do not psych yourself out! It’s an age-old theory, but positive thoughts equal positive outcomes. If you keep telling yourself you’re going to fail, then you probably will. Surround yourself with positive energy and good vibes and you’ll be just fine. As long as you prepare to the best of your ability, there is no reason you shouldn’t do well. Just take a few deep breaths, and tell yourself that it CAN be done. This really is the secret to success.
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The Center for Learning and Academic Success (CLAS) is proud to host our 12th final exam preparation event, iStudy! Our theme this year is Super Mario Brothers. See the details below on how we can help your students take their finals to the next level!!
DATE: April 24th, 2014
TIME: 10am – 4pm
LOCATION: 9th Floor of 73 Tremont Street
COURSE SPECIFIC SUPPORT:
Our Peer Tutors and Study Group Leaders can help students study for the following classes:
THESIS & ARGUMENT :: RESEARCH & CITATION :: STRUCTURE & GRAMMAR
We can help with any and all writing assignments for any Suffolk course!
Our Academic Coaches can help students create customized study schedule so they can manage their time effectively during finals week!
I’ve worked as a writing tutor at Suffolk for a number of years, at Second Language Services and now at CLAS. In my experience, students often don’t really know what they want from their tutorial, or how they can prepare for and participate in it. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: there’s no one “right” way to approach a tutorial, and going in without an agenda can lead to pleasant surprises. But there are also steps you can take to ensure that your tutorial is as productive and helpful as possible. Let’s talk about them:
Before your tutorial
In a way, your tutorial starts long before you set foot in CLAS. With that in mind, plan ahead! Don’t wait to make an appointment until the last minute. Once you’ve made an appointment, carefully consider where you most need help. With a critical eye, review your professor’s comments, relevant assignments, and the work you’ve done so far. Highlight particular places in your assignment where you have issues or questions. Write any important questions down, just in case you forget them during the tutorial. Also, if there’s a specific issue you know you need help with—MLA citation, for example, or comma usage—try to research and work on it prior to your tutorial. That way, you’ll be able to work with your tutor to address any difficulties or misunderstandings.
What to bring to your tutorial
Always, always bring the handout for the assignment you are working on, so that your tutor can gain a clear understanding of what you need to do. He or she might be able to clarify questions you have about the assignment, or whether you are on the right track. Knowing what your professor is asking for, your tutor will be able to offer you better advice.
If you can, bring a paper copy of your writing. While we can work with laptops as well, it’s much easier to underline, circle, make notes and write questions on hardcopy. Typing corrections on screen tends to be time-consuming, meaning that more time is spent making changes than thinking about your paper.
Aside from that, bring anything you think might be useful for reference, especially readings and notes. Class notes and outlines can be great for brainstorming, for instance, and often it’s helpful to have your primary texts there for easy reference too.
When your tutor asks, “What do you want to work on today?”
Occasionally, you truly need help only with grammar. But most of the time, there are (as they say) “bigger fish to fry.” How confident are you in your argument? In the clarity and cohesion of your main ideas? Are there places where you aren’t sure about your organization? Does your introduction or your conclusion need work? Even if grammar is the main thing you want to work on, think actively about the assignment and the writing challenges you face. Don’t be afraid to tell your tutor your thoughts.
In your tutorial
Remember: tutors are not proofreaders. Our job is to help you become a better writer. This means that you need to take an active role in the tutorial, rather than just waiting for your tutor to mark errors. Be the one holding the pen and writing down notes and changes. Look for ways to improve and corrections to make. Ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand. Most of all, be prepared to think hard—about your assignment, and about how to improve as a writer.
After you leave
Right away: write up notes from the session, such as changes you plan to make, or reminders to yourself. If you can, start revising right away, while everything is fresh in your mind! That’s the surest way to ensure that the things you’ve learned in your tutorial will stay with you. After you’ve had time to work on revisions, you might want to schedule a follow-up appointment. We look forward to seeing you at CLAS!
Iain Bernhoft, Tutor
I recently had one of those exams that takes over your life, gives you anxiety, and makes you feel as if your life will be over if you don’t pass. After literally giving myself a cold and feeling like I did awful after taking the test, I have come up with some ways to better prepare.
Even though I have no plans of becoming a lawyer anytime soon, I still had to study and memorize over thirty cases for my Media Law test. Sounds fun right? I figured if I dedicated a day to making the study guide and a few hours before the test the next day to memorize the material, that I would be golden. Oh, how I was so, so wrong. Not only did I grossly underestimate how much time would go into studying for this test, but I also didn’t realize just how much content six chapters could really have. Needless to say, I cannot stress enough how important it is to give yourself enough time to study. You don’t want to have a sore back from sitting on your living room floor for six plus hours and a tired hand to match. I realize that there are those exams that you can study for a few hours or even the night before. I’ve mastered and named myself the queen of procrastination, but unless you are totally confident that you can study in only a few hours, give yourself that extra Sunday morning to prepare. Your body will thank you in the long run. Not to mention your sanity.
Another tip I can share with you all is my favorite method of studying: flash cards! I don’t get to make them very often because most of my exams involve an eight-page essay on the central themes in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” but occasionally I’ll have that bio exam where I have a hundred vocab words to memorize. I realize flash cards aren’t some secret method that has only just been discovered, but I don’t think enough students take advantage of this method. Sure, you can glance over your notes, but your mind isn’t fully taking it in. When you have a flashcard, you are actively quizzing yourself and thus you are more focused. I also like to split up my flashcards into mini piles. I start off by memorizing one pile of flashcards and go through them a few times to make sure that I really know everything. Then I do the same thing with the next set of flashcards. Once I’ve memorized those two piles, I put them together and go through all of them at once. I keep doing this until I’ve gone through every pile. When you have more than a hundred terms to memorize, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. By sorting the flash cards into piles, the process seems a little less daunting. When I studied for my exam I did this all in one day and I felt like I would crash if I crammed anything else into my head. If you memorize a new pile of cards every day, you won’t feel as mentally exhausted. Flash cards might take longer to make, but they can help get you that A.
With these simple methods and a few neon highlighters, you’ll be more than prepared for your next exam.
The iStudy Star has been making its way around Boston! Where will it go next?
The Haiku Grove!
Here is the winning Haiku!
"Fran the Man" by Michael Smith
Fran is pretty cool.
He knows how to rap and stuff,
but this does not rhyme.
Here are 9 other great Haikus( in no particular order).
1. "Give me Summer" by Siobhan Sullivan
Starting to enjoy
The weather of the seasons
Can't wait for summer
2. "The Wanderers" by Tyler Gambino
Though the winds of change
Spread my flames across the land
They carry my wings
3. "Gratitude" by Dan
Thank a Professor
Or they will remove your brain
With final exams
4."Brett + Carmen" by Ashley Labour
Brett and Carmen talk
Carmen and Brett take a walk
Brothers from the block
5.Haiku #19 by Hillary
Sassfrass plum cakes
Snickerdoodle cake frosting
I really like cake
6."Am I Right" by Maddie McGreavy
Student Enters CLAS
Do you have an appointment?
Thank god for C.R's.
7."Seoul" by Kayla Cash
Men of dirt and heart
and Seoul...These are my people
These are the only
8."An Ode to Katy Perry" by Siobhan Sullivan
Do you ever feel
Like a plastic bag drifting
Well don't, that is weird.
9."The Narwhal" by Anonymous
Look! Over yonder-
The gray, majestic narwhal
We are kicking off our great Start hunt in celebration of the upcoming iStudy event.
The Great Star Hunt: What you need to know
On Thursday, March 20, members of the CLAS came together for the first all-employee meeting of the spring semester. The focus of the meeting was to learn about stress management tips and techniques for tutors and tutees, and how they can apply these methods to their busy lives. During the beginning of the meeting, program coordinator Hillary Ornberg gave a presentation that revealed both surprising and unsurprising statistics about stress and its overwhelming impact on college students.
After the presentation, students chose which stress relieving activity they wished to participate in: art or yoga. For the students who chose to participate in yoga, relaxation and quiet time were the key components. Participants indulged in calming music and utilized breathing techniques and slow stretches like “Child’s Pose,” “Dog and Cat,” and “Mountain,” to achieve relaxation. Ornberg, who helped lead the yoga exercise, said the purpose of the activity was for each individual to focus on their own bodies, comfort, and general self. The idea was for students to not get caught up in doing each move perfectly, or to worry about how they were doing in comparison to others. “We get in our heads and it stresses us out. Focus on what you can do and do it as well as you can, and have that be perfect in all of its imperfections, because that’s the beauty of it,” said Ornberg.
For the art participants, markers and paper were distributed so that students could draw the things that stress them out. Money, employment, school, friends, and relationships were some of the most common things drawn. Students were then given another piece of paper and were told to draw the things that de-stress them and bring them happiness. Afterwards, in a rather symbolic and therapeutic style, the students ripped up the papers depicting the stress-inducing things. “It really helped to put down on paper what has been stressing me out because it forced me to confront it,” said writing tutor Mia Knausenberger, “It actually felt very stress-relieving to rip the paper up afterwards!”
In reflection, Ornberg had some words for students seeking to successfully relieve their lives of stress. “Go into it with the intention of relaxing and focusing on you. Give yourself permission to be present in that moment and you’ll be relaxed.”
Allison Foley, Tutor