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Students share study tips

By Erica Horton
On April 24, 2012

For any normal exam, Brittney Williams begins to prep for a night of studying at about 9:30 p.m. She lays out her books and assignments right before checking Facebook and her email.

Then with a feast varying between strawberries, bananas, Doritos and Dr. Pepper, the all-nighter begins.

"I answer the first problem or begin writing the first paragraph to whatever assignment," said Williams, junior film major. "Then, I open a music playlist, return to whatever assignment I have and try my hardest to focus until I finish with bits of Facebook thrown in there."

Williams finishes her routine about 1 a.m. normally, but for finals week, she'll make an exception and start her jostle of studying and procrastination about two hours earlier.

With two more days of classes and an official study day, final exams begin Friday and last through May 3.

Barbara Bekis, coordinator of the Educational Support Program, said students have just one more week to love their courses before new ones begin in the fall.

Students should keep in mind while they're studying that professors are not going to make exams about what they memorized the night before, but what they learned throughout the entire semester, Bekis said.

"You can't learn the whole semester in one week," she said.

One of the first steps U of M students should take for finals, according to Bekis, is to confirm their exam time and place.

"You would be surprised how many students don't know where their exams are," she said. "They should also be sure to rest and wake up at least two to three hours before the exam so they're not rushing out in pajama pants."

Another key to success, she said, is for students to believe that they can pass their exams after they have properly prepared.

"Try studying uninterrupted for the length of time that your exam is, find out what type of exam it is - multiple choice or essay - and study accordingly, " she said. "I recommend if an empty classroom is available, that students go study and do work on the board. It's a great benefit."

Sean Levstek, staff psychologist recommended doing stress-relieving activities before exams and between studying.

"What's most important is being able to recognize what relaxes you," he said. "Sometimes it's yoga, breathing exercises or self soothing. Taking a hot bath, play video games, try aromatherapy."

Levstek said people who are the most stressed tend not to be able to relax.

"Maybe they go out with friends but spend a lot of that time worrying about their school work," he said. "They feel guilty about being out instead of studying."

Tamara Felix, junior criminology major, said since her car has mechanical problems she's forced to stay home and study.

"Since I don't have cable, I listen to the radio and accidentally study," she said.

But, with finals around the corner, Felix said she plans to use the Educational Support Program learning labs more often-open through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.- leading up to her exams and using extra time between classes to go to the library.

"The biggest mistake I ever made was underestimating an exam and not studying as much as I should," she said. "The tests throughout the semester were really easy, but the exam for that particular class was hard."


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