Depending on how classes are scheduled, some students may be preparing for their first exams. Even if they are not, certain learning techniques may be helpful to get ready for their first or next exam.
Utilizing campus resources to get ideas on how to properly manage time and study may be a method students use.
Patrick Bohn, associate director of Texas Tech Support Operations for Academic Retention and the Learning Center, said the department is all about resources for students. The Learning Center offers free tutoring for students in certain classes.
In addition, one can make appointments with an academic coach on the Learning Center website.
“Sometimes, I don’t think students realize how many resources they have available to them because they’re so focused on classes,” he said.
Along with not realizing what resources are available on campus, Bohn said some students have a negative mentality toward tests. Some students may go into an exam thinking they will fail.
“You’re already setting yourself up for that to be the more likely realization with that mindset,” he said. “If you go into it going ‘You know what, I may not ace this, but I think I have enough knowledge and content that I’ve spent enough time on that I’m going to do well. There’s a more likely chance you’re going to do well with that mindset.”
In addition to being positive, Bohn said being proactive is the biggest thing.
“Start building up to that today rather than waiting until March and going ‘Oh man, that test is tomorrow. I’ve got to cram this whole thing,’” he said regarding students who procrastinate studying.
A student should set aside studying time between classes when the brain is functioning, not at night when one is tired, Bohn said. For those who need to visualize their schedule with time set aside for studying, he said it is preferable to write a weekly schedule.
“What’s funny is it makes sense for all of us, but the hardest part is for us to actually do it,” he said regarding properly scheduling classes, studying and other time commitments, “and that’s hard, like I said, at any age.”
Whatever class a student takes, proper engagement during the class and preparation leading up to the exam may be necessary.
Justin Louder, associate vice provost for Tech eLearning and Academic Partnerships, said students should make an effort to plan out their assignments for online classes.
“What I recommend to students, especially students taking more than one online class, is making sure that you sit down and, either using a calendar in Outlook or a calendar on your phone or something, and map out when discussion posts are due, when initial posts or follow-up posts are due on discussion boards, when assignments are due and making sure that you have all of that in mind,” he said.
With upcoming major grades, such as exams, Louder said students need to keep these factors in mind in order to not get behind in studying.
Whether it be in person or online, the days prior to the first, or even the second, exam may require more than just planning time for classwork and studying.
Donell Callender, head of research instruction and outreach at the Tech Library, said she has taught the RaiderReady course, which consists of preparing students for a college environment in and out of the classroom. Teaching students proper studying techniques is one aspect of the course.
People need to enjoy their school life in order to be at their best, Callender said. Studying too much or focusing too much on class assignments could be detrimental if a student does not take time for themselves.
“That’s not good for you either. You need to have balance in your life,” she said. “You need to do things you enjoy, you need to have that downtime, give your brain a break. I think that’s important too.”
Along with downtime, one should be sure to eat right and get enough rest each day, Callender said.
For some people, fewer hours of sleep may not be too bad, but others should be mindful of the number hours that are sufficient, Callender said.
“I think all-nighters are something you can do on occasion, but I wouldn’t do it for every test, for every project, for every final,” she said. “Getting a good night sleep is different for everyone.”
Utilizing one’s time outside of classes is an aspect of preparing for exams, but engagement in the classroom may be effective as well.
Attending class is half the battle, Callender said. Being in class allows students to hear announcements regarding information about exam deadlines and content. But, one should make an effort to go beyond the information given during class, she said.
“Knowing when to get help,” she said regarding another factor to consider when needing to prepare for an exam. “There’s no shame in getting a tutor. There’s no shame in asking a fellow student or friend for help.”
A student’s professors are not the only source of information, Callender said. There are a lot of resources on campus dedicated to helping students in their educational journey.
“Along with school, life happens, right, and sometimes, life throws you a curve,” she said. “Well, you got people here that are here that want to help and make sure you get through those difficult times.”