The finals are coming

Thanksgiving, weekend plans and busy schedules tend to push finals to the back of students’ minds at this time in the semester, Senior Student Services coordinator Faith Pawelski said. While some students may not want to acknowledge it, finals week is approaching in four weeks.

Senior English major Rachel Tiede said because she needs to work on projects and papers, which are due before Thanksgiving, she usually doesn’t start preparing for finals until late November.

Tristen Back, a junior social work major said she often starts studying the week before finals or the night before an exam.

Although this plan of attack may work, it’s never too early to begin studying for finals, Judy Sims, a professor in the communication and journalism department said.

“In terms of comprehending the material, I would recommend studying a little bit every day,” Sims said.

Studying for 15 to 20 minutes every day throughout the semester can help students be successful on final exams, she said.

The Academic Skills Center promotes planning out scheduled times to study for finals as well. It offers blank schedules for students to fill in times to study  in advance.

“When any student or person gets stressed … they cram,” said Faith Pawelski, Senior Student Services coordinator. “It’s so much smarter to start a couple weeks in advance and start spacing it out.”

Pawelski said spaced study over a period of time is more effective than cramming, and late-night cram sessions can be detrimental to a student’s health.

Recognizing this, some professors require students to work on final projects over an extended period of time.

Michael Faris, an English professor, assigns rough drafts of final projects to eliminate the option for students to procrastinate, something he said he did as an undergraduate.

“I think that it’s important to struggle through ideas and to revise and to turn in the strongest draft you can,” Faris said. “You can’t do that if it’s all in one night.”

Because students have commitments outside of class, it may not always seem practical to study in advance.

Biology professor Rudy Buiser said he realizes different students have different schedules and many feel they have to wait a week or two before finals to start preparing.

Pawelski said mapping out exam material beforehand  helps students do better on finals.

Evaluating where you stand in classes and asking how much finals are worth are easy steps to take now, Pawelski said.

Setting goals and making lists of work to complete before and during finals week can also help relieve  stress when the time comes.