Archive for November, 2013

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Posted: November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
This time of year, students start to look a little frantic. In the wake of mid-term grades being posted, it seems like the majority of our students fall into two categories: Those who bail ship, and those who desperately look for a miracle. While there are times that dropping a class is the only reasonable option, recovering from a poor mid-term grade is often a possibility. I would suggest the following things:
Visit your instructor during office hours — Sticking your head in the sand won’t give you the information you need, so go to your instructor and find out exactly what would need to happen for you to get a passing grade. You will have a realistic notion as to whether a “recovery” is realistic.
Assuming you have determined that recovery is plausible, you need to do the following if at all possible:
  • Get a tutor — Some colleges offer free tutoring, so take advantage of it!
  • Visit your instructor during office hours for additional helps and clarification of material.
  • Start studying for finals 1-2 weeks before finals week begins.
  • Create a study plan for finals: Take the material you will need to cover before the exam and divide it into managable chunks. If you have a week before your exam, I would recommend breaking it into 5 chunks. Each day, you will prepare the new material (the next chunk), and review the old material. For example, If you are covering chapters 1-2 on Monday, you might make flash cards, study sheets, self-quizzes, or concept maps. On Tuesday, you will do the same thing for chapters 3-4, and then will review chapters 1-2 with the materials you created on Monday. On Wednesday, you will prepare chapter 5-6 and review chapters 1-4. By the time you get to day 6, you have had tons of review and have covered all of the material in a methodical way.  The night before the exam, conduct a brief review of everything and look for any holes in your knowledge, but most importantly… get a good night’s sleep!
  • Form a study group — Study groups are very beneficial if they are run well. An effective study group usually has 3-5 members. Everyone should be committed to showing up and preparing for the meeting, and one person should take on a leadership role. It is helpful if each group member is assigned a particular lecture, and are responsible for creating a study sheet with key concepts and a summarization of that lecture. For example, Jack and Jill create the study sheet for Monday’s lecture and Bob and Barb create the study sheet for Wednesday’s lecture. Then on Thursday, the group meets and the study sheets are shared with the other group members, and are discussed if needed.

I’m not toying with you…. finals ARE around the corner.  You need to start thinking and planning today, and then DO it. Good intentions equal nothing if there is no follow through!!