Understand how to approach the first week of classes, such as the importance of:
The syllabus and knowing how to read one;
Settling on a course schedule no later than the last day of drop/add (August 20 this Fall semester) and preferably well before then.
Appreciate some basic tenets of the student-faculty relationship, such as:
Most faculty care deeply that students learn the material in their classes and will go to great lengths to help them master the material, provided that they demonstrate that they are willing to apply themselves and work hard; and,
Like students, individual faculty members differ in their rules and expectations. It’s the student’s responsibility to know what each of their professors expects (see that syllabus!).
Here are links to a few of the many things we discussed today in our CwP session:
A few volunteers came to the front of the class and presented their key learnings to us by showing their list and character on the document projector.
You’ll see what the key learnings for my students were as comments to this blog post. By having them create their own mnemonics in class today, I’m hopeful that they’ll remember many of the key points of this class long after it is over.
Final exams are approaching on college campuses around the world. Finals can be stressful, even for the most prepared students. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
Preparing for the Final
Find out what your entire final exam schedule is so that you’ll know how many finals you will have on each day.
Prepare a written schedule for yourself indicating when you will study for each test. Leave some time in your schedule for exercise and relaxation, too.
If the professor offers a study guide, use it.
If the professor offers a review session for the exam, go to it.
Know if the final is comprehensive (covering everything since the beginning of the semester or quarter).
Find out what kind of exam it will be. You’d study differently for a multiple-choice (Scantron) final than an essay (blue book) one.
If the final will be taken online, find out if you have to go to a specific computer lab on campus at a specific time, or if you’ll be allowed to take the final on your own computer. Also find out how many chances you will have to take the final. Assume it’s just one chance unless you hear differently from the professor.
If you have your previous exams available, scour the exams for things that you think will be on the final. Flag your notes by highlighting or using Post-It notes.
Don’t pull an all-nighter. (Though some people are successful with studying all night and then taking a test with no sleep, I wouldn’t recommend you try it for the first time on a final exam.)
Calculate your grades in the class. Determine what score you will need to get the grade you’re hoping for in the class. You may discover that you can’t possibly get an A, no matter how well you do on the final, but to get a B, you only need to get a few questions right.
If you’re an auditory learner, record yourself reading your notes aloud, then play the recording back several times. (You can use the free online service Utterli for this; simply register with Utterli and then call your assigned phone number with your cell phone to start the recording.)
If the exam is an open-book exam, this does not mean that you don’t have to study at all. In fact, one of the most challenging exams I ever took as an undergrad was an open-book essay exam.
Know what to bring with you to the final. Do you need a blue book? A Scantron? (And if you need a Scantron, which kind do you need?) A pencil? A pen?
Are food and drinks allowed in the classroom where your final will be? Sometimes, the rules are different for exam days than other days.
Even if you don’t usually wear a watch, take one with you to the final. It’s unlikely you will be able to look at your cell phone during the final.
During the Final
For a paper-based exam, read through the entire final exam before you start answering any questions at all. This way, you will know what you’re facing.
If the final is an online exam, find out if you can revisit questions, or if after you click past a question you cannot go back to it again.
If you’re using a Scantron and you skip a question to finish later, make sure you’re answering your questions next to the correct answers. (When I took my GRE to get into grad school, I skipped a question on the first page of the booklet, but never skipped a number on the Scantron. When I realized it, I only had 10 minutes to go back and put the answers with the correct questions. Talk about stress!)
Keep a close eye on the time you have allotted.
Some students benefit from answering the most difficult questions first, while others do better completing all the easier ones. Do what works for you.
After the Final
Do not share with other students what was on the final exam. In most universities, this is a violation of the honor code.
Now it’s your turn: What final exam tips do you have to share? Please let us know through your comments below.
Throughout the nation — and perhaps around the world — college students are preparing (or preparing to prepare!) for their final exams. I’ve been a college professor for more than two decades, and I am also the parent of a college student. To help my son with this stressful time in any student’s life, I’ll be sending him a Final Exam Care Package. Here are a few of the items that he’ll find when he opens this box next week. If you’re a student, you might want to share a link to this post with your parents.
Notes of encouragement from everyone in the family
My plan is to put this package together myself. However, if life intervenes, I may “cheat” and order a pre-packaged one from Tiger Surprise, which caters specifically to Auburn University students (where my eldest is a sophomore). Either way, my son will receive a tangible reminder that his mom and dad want him to take care of himself and do well on his first college finals.
Though I know he’ll be appreciative of the goodies in his care package, I know my son, and I bet he won’t call to tell me it arrived. This gives me the excuse to call him and see how he’s doing. I won’t grill him with tons of questions about his finals; instead, I’ll provide a listening ear and lots of encouragement. . . and a few of my best study tips.
Note: Parents can find the overall final exam schedule for most universities at the school’s website. However, you’ll probably need to check with your students to determine exactly when their finals are based on their class schedules.
So, what would you like to see in your own final exam care package? Do you (or your student) have favorites? Please share them as a comment.
For our Final Exam in FYE 1220, Mackenzie and I would like your help. Let’s develop a list of what you consider to be the most important things you’ve learned, and then turn that list into multiple choice questions. You’ll find out in class which categories you’ll need to write questions for. (If you were not in class on the day we assigned categories, you can see your assignment in Final Exam Question Assignment.)
Your questions are due before class on Monday, December 1. This assignment counts as part of your participation points in FYE 1220.
Start Writing Questions (clicking this link will bring you to the page where you will enter your questions and answers).
At Georgia Southern University, we’re now well past the midterm mark in Fall Semester. If you haven’t been keeping close tabs on your grades in all your classes, now is a good time to do so. Some professors keep grades updated in WebCT Vista, while others use different methods. [NOTE: Grades for all my classes are kept up-to-date in WebCT Vista.]