How to study for finals week

Finals week is here, and it can be easy to become overwhelmed with the exams and projects that need to be completed to finish strong before heading home. Luckily for Maryville College students, there are many resources to help prepare for finals whether it is studying or stress relief. The Academic Support Center on campus has all kinds of helpful tools ranging from group studies, tutors, SI, and Cooper Success to the Writing Center. All of these are meant to aid students throughout the year.

                Noah Bowman, Assistant Director for Learning Services, shared some advice for first year college freshmen taking finals this semester.

                “They don’t know what they don’t know yet,” Bowman said. “A lot of the issues that come up is they come to college, and they try to apply high school level effort because that’s all they’ve ever done. They’ve never had issues, and here you can’t do that … so [it’s about] just getting them to take the initiative and study throughout the afternoon and the evening, at least two significant study periods a day, as we head into these final couple of weeks.”

                When asked what the biggest mistake students make is, Bowman emphasized the importance of being a “full time student.”

                “Full-time being eight hours a day and that includes time in the classroom. So, if they’re in the classroom for three hours a day then they should be studying or at least academically focused at least another four hours spread throughout the day,” Bowman said. “Their instinct a lot of time is they went to class, they absorbed the lecture, and that’s good enough.”

                Bowman also shared what he thinks is the most untapped resource for study preparation on campus.

                “Group study sessions [are very useful],” Bowman said. “Around now, every group study session, whether you think you have a grasp on the content or not should just be packed and more often than not the group study leader is by themselves.” Bowman stressed the importance of creating a schedule to study and to take care of yourself in the process.

Andrew Collins, Ryan Lay, Noah Bowman, Kyle Larson, and Brinley Knowles get ready for a night at Cooper Success.

Photo by Eliza Komisar

                “You [students] should be really intentional when studying for finals,” Bowman said. “There should be a lot of self-care as well, so you don’t burn out and you’re not in a position where you’re studying all night long because you have to. You [should] break it down in sort of a balanced daily cycle.”

Some senior academic mentors also shared their favorite study tips to help students get ready.

                “Find yourself a location where you can be productive and be open to changing your study habits,” said senior Math with licensure major Ryan Lay. “My habits change each semester regarding where I find myself to be the most productive and time of day. Some people are night studiers, and some are day.”

                “Find accountability in a group that won’t distract you,” said senior ASL major Bronte Taylor. “The people you surround yourself with during cram periods won’t be your best friends, but rather people who will recognize your absence when you decide to stay in bed instead of go to the library. These are the people who will say, ‘get off your phone’ instead of watching Tiktok with you.”

                Taylor believes in using a planner and encourages other to make use of this as well.

                “Planner. Planner. Planner. Don’t have one? Print out a monthly schedule and tape it everywhere,” Taylor said. “Tape it on the mirror to stare at while you brush your teeth. Tape it on the ceiling above your bed to stare at when you wake up. Surround yourself with reminders of what is coming so you can stay in control. Just because the assignments due tomorrow are done does not mean you are! Look ahead to stay ahead.”

                “My best tip is to create multiple study guides,” said senior History and Writing Communications double major Brinley Knowles. “Normally, I start by creating a Google Document, and I collaborate with other students in my class on that document. After that, I print out the study guide. From there, I rewrite the study guide by hand. This helps me start to learn the information a bit more. After that, I normally make flashcards. This is my best tip since after following all of those steps I know most of the information and everything I don’t, I can learn from the flashcards.”

                Feeling stressed? The Maryville College counseling center has a relaxation room and the CCM will have hot cider available through finals week. Quick stress relief exercises like coloring, taking a lap around campus, or an app like SAM, Happier, or Headspace can all help to relieve stress during a study break.

                Whatever your year or major, finals week is a time to prove what you’ve learned and leave campus feeling accomplished. With these tips and the resources on campus, every Maryville College student should be able to attain their goals and be ready to come back in the spring.

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