Student Life

5 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR FINALS

It’s getting dangerously close to that time in the semester when your classes are going to end and you’ll have to take final exams.  You certainly don’t want to go into this part of the semester unprepared.  This is why we’ve put together some tips to get your prepped for the dreaded finals time.

Study for the most difficult exams the most.  You should avoid devoting equal time to each class, as not all your classes are going to be the most difficult for you.  Divide your time up so that you’re expending the most effort on the most difficult classes.

Study early and often.  You want to avoid just studying for your exam the night before.  It will not only overload you, but you also won’t retain as much information. According to Colin Gruenwald of Kaplan Test Prep, it’s best to stop studying 12 to 24 hours before the test, as you aren’t going retain new content and you’ll be much more stressed.  Therefore it is best to start now (if you haven’t already) and to take some time each day to devote to studying for your finals.

Alternate study spots.    According to the New York Times, you should switch the locations where you study to increase retention.  So instead of studying in the same coffee shop or in the library every day, try a alternating between a few different study spots.

Get a good night’s sleep before the exam.  Avoid staying up the night of the exam to cram.  Like Gruenwald says, it isn’t going to help you, and it is really just going to stress you out more.  It is best to get some sleep so that you’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.

Take your time on the test.  It’s best to pace yourself while you’re working on your exam.  Try taking a break between sections or portions of the exam so that you don’t get too stressed or overwhelmed.  It’s also a good idea to stay as long as you have to, and you can.  Most people will tend to leave as soon as they have finished answering the last question, however, it is best to finish and then your review your answers before turning in the exam.

We hope these few little tips help you with the dreaded final exam week.  Just don’t forget to relax and breathe.

Good luck on exams!

 

References

“Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits” by Benedict Carey

“Top 15 Hot Tips for Finals” by Jeremy Hyman and Lynn Jacobs

“Ten Essential Study Tips for Final Exams” by Sierra Tishgart

 

 

 

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Student Life

Getting Through Midterms

It’s coming up on that time of the semester when you’re going to have to start thinking and studying for your midterms.  It is probably one of the most stressful times of the semester, as some of your classes will have midterms, others won’t, and some will have papers or presentations.  It’s just a mess!

Well, we certainly feel your pain.  The long nights of studying, writing papers, and endless lines of questions, you can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed.  While you should check out our post on de-stressing in college, here are some more tips to help you stay focused during this time in the semester.

Find a good spot to study.   As we’ve noted before, studying in your room cannot only be stressful, it can also be incredibly distracting.  Choose a place that suits your preferences.  Maybe you like to study in complete quiet with very little action going on around you.  If that is the case then maybe you want to choose a spot in the library.  If you prefer a more active environment with a little bit of background noise, you may want to choose a place like your favorite coffee shop.

Take study breaks.  You need to give yourself breaks every once and while to take a breath and recollect your thoughts before beginning again.  It will not only be something to look forward to, but it will also give you some time to clear your head.  Just be diligent with how long your breaks are if you have to get a lot done.  Maybe you want to limit yourself to 5 or 10 minute breaks.  It just depends on how quickly you want to work and how much work you have to get done.

Try a study group.  In many ways a study group can be really helpful.  If you are all studying for the same class it will help you test your knowledge if you have to explain something to someone else.  It’s also a great idea to test one another to see what you know.

Even if you aren’t studying for the same class, going somewhere with a group of people can be helpful in keeping you on task.  While it may not work for everyone, for some it may help you to stay on task and will give you someone to talk to when it’s break time.

Choose background music.  One of the best ways to keep yourself going is by choosing an awesome playlist.  Many have said that listening to classical music can be incredibly beneficial when you study.  However, it doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as you choose music without lyrics.  This is because lyrics can cause your brain to try to focus on too many things.  If you want to focus on your studying, it’s best that you choose classical or instrumental music.

Overall, studying for midterms can be really overwhelming.  By choosing a study spot, taking breaks, studying in groups, and choosing background music, staying hydrated, exercising, and get as much sleep as possible, you can ensure that you keep your mind, your metabolism, and your immune system up during one of the most difficult points in the semester.

References

“Classical Music for Concentration” by Tayla Holman

“7 Study Tips to Help You Ace Your Midterms” by Tamar Zmora

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Student Life

Tips for Adjusting to College Life

For many incoming freshmen, college can seem very scary.  You are suddenly given greater independence, but with that comes a lot of new experiences and responsibilities you’ve never had to experience before.  Before you head to school in the September, you may be wondering how you’ll ever adjust to all of this.  You’re certainly not alone; at JumpOffCampus, we certainly remember that feeling.  This is why we’ve put together some tips to help make your transition to college a little bit easier.

Don’t expect all the comforts of home when you move into your dorm.  In an article we read by Cristiana Quinn at GoLocalProv, she explains that while living in the dorm is a great experience, you can’t expect all the comforts that you might get at home.  For starters, you most likely won’t have your own room.  This means that you’ll be sharing a room with at least one other person.  As we’ve mentioned in some of our previous posts, you have to make sure that you are conscious of that and you’re considerate of your roommate(s).

You also can’t expect to spend all your getting ready in the bathroom in the morning.  If you have a shared bathroom with 3 or 4 other people, you need to be considerate of their schedules as well.  This means not taking long showers in the morning or hogging the bathroom.  Be aware that maybe others have a similar schedule as you and will have to be getting ready at the same time.   The best thing to do is to find out everyone’s schedules and schedule shower times.

Stay on campus.  In an article we read at University-College.net, they explain that one of the biggest issues freshmen have is staying on campus (especially on the weekends).  As we mentioned before, your dorm room is not going to have all the comforts of home that you may be used to.    However, it’s important to stay on campus to stay connected to campus activities and events.  This also gives you more time to make connections with new friends and foster new friendships.

Keep looking on the bright side.  According to the article at University-College.net, it’s important to keep a positive attitude when you’re adjusting to life in college.  While it seems like your entire life has been completely turned upside down, the important thing is to not get bogged down by a fear of this change.  You need to stay positive and embrace this change, because if you do, college really can be one of the greatest times in your life.

Make new friends.  For many freshmen, there can be a great temptation to stay connected to only those friends who you knew from high school.  While those relationships should still be important to you, it can really hurt you should you choose to avoid meeting new people.  This is because you’re other  high school friends will continue to go on to meet new people, but you won’t.  You start feeling left out if they are always hanging out with their new friends and you’re left alone.  The best thing is to meet people in your class, join a student group or organization and get more involved on campus.  Even the shyest of people can meet others this way.

Stay focused.  It’s important to stay focused, despite having all this newfound freedom.  It can be tempting to go to every party or hang out with your friends every weeknight.  However, you have to make sure that you balance your social life and your academic one.  Remember that you’re at college to learn, which means that you have to stay up on your homework, assignments, and reading to stay in college.

While going away to college can be intimidating, we hope that by following these tips it will make your transition just a little bit easier.  Just remember to that this is your experience and that no one else can determine what your college experience will be; you’ll have to do that on your own.  In this way college can really be a great experience that you’ll take with you for the rest of your life.

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Student Life

10 Tips for Surviving College

At JumpOffCampus, we remember what that was like:  the long nights of studying, the massive term papers, and the endless amounts of reading.  By mid-semester you start to wonder how you’ll ever make it through college.  Well, there really isn’t a lot to fear; the key to surviving college is building on certain skills that can make your life easier.  Here are some tips we think may help:

1.  Get good at time management.   Who doesn’t procrastinate?  However, it can hurt you when it comes down to finals and writing ten-page papers.  The best thing to do is create smaller deadlines for yourself.  This means that if you have a huge paper due next Friday, maybe you want to plan out when you’ll have your research done by, when you’ll have the outline done, when you’ll have your draft, and when you want to be officially done.  It sounds a little strange but by setting these smaller deadlines, it will help you get to the bigger one.

2.  Get good at organization.  In high school you may have been able to get away with turning in your homework one day late.  However, in college, this isn’t the case.  You want to make sure that you keep track of your assignments and their due dates.  Double check before you leave your dorm or apartment in the morning that you have all your assignments that you’ll need for your classes.  Also be sure to keep at least your desk neat so you can find your assignments easily.

3.  Find the right place to study.  You study spot should be a place where you can get the most work done.  That could be your room, the library or another spot like the coffee shop.  You just need to make sure that spot works for you.  Think about a time when you’ve been most productive:  Was the place where you were working quiet?  Were there a lot of other people around?  Maybe you don’t do well in complete silence or you do well with a lot of other people around.  You want to figure out what study environment is best for you.

4.  Watch your finances.  One of the biggest problems students can encounter when they go off to college is running out of money.  Running out of money doesn’t only mean that you won’t be able to go out to eat with your friends or go see that movie you’ve been dying to see, but that may also mean that you won’t have money for things like textbooks.  You want to be sure that you’re managing your finances and avoiding overspending.

5.  Make sure you have a good alarm clock.  While a phone alarm may be the most convenient, it may not always work.  Suppose the battery runs out while you’re sleeping and you sleep through your midterm.   Be sure to get an alarm clock that is loud enough to wake you up, and one that is reliable.

6.  Pay attention in class.  Seems pretty obvious, but is actually one of the things students seem to forget the most.  Class time is the most important time to be paying attention; this is the time that you’ll get important information related to the material or the assignments.  Be sure you pay attention to what your professors are saying.

7.  Take notes in class.  Maybe another of students’ biggest problems is not taking notes.  Like paying attention in class, it just seems obvious.  It doesn’t matter if your professor posts PowerPoint slides up online after class, you still want to make sure you take notes as they lecture as they will often not include things on their PowerPoint just to test to make sure you are paying attention and taking notes.

8.  Participate in class.  In most classes you will be graded on how often you participate, meaning either added to a class discussion or contributing an opinion or question.  It doesn’t matter if you’re shy; your professor will still grade you on whether you are participating or not.  Make sure that you contribute in class, and that you’re making informed and intelligent contributions (professors can tell by your comments if you haven’t read the material).

9.  Find a friend in each class who you can study with.  It’s really nice to have a study buddy who can help you out when you don’t understand something, help you if you forgot something, or give you notes when you’ve missed class.  You can do the same for them, and by doing this, it will actually help you to understand the material better too!

10.  Avoid cramming.  While sometimes it’s a necessity, it’s best to avoid cramming before a quiz or exam.  Plan out a study schedule ahead of time so you can take breaks and you don’t feel to overwhelmed.  In most cases, studying over a longer period of time and more frequently will help you do better.

As we mentioned in our post yesterday, college is meant to be one of the greatest times in your life.  You shouldn’t forget to have fun.  However, you should be sure to develop some strong skills and habits that will help you make it through to graduation.

Other articles we referenced:

http://www.collegesanduniversities.org/cuinsights/10-top-tips-for-surviving-college/

http://www.survivingcollege.com/how-to-survive-your-literature-class/

http://frank.mtsu.edu/~studskl/10tips.html

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