By Innes Herdan, Assistant Editor
Fall semester finals are fast approaching, which will mark the first time for freshmen to take a final here at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF). For many students, the weeks building up to finals week are very overwhelming, often leaving students confused on where and when to begin for the preparation of studying for the various tests and essays that will appear December 17th through December 21st.
With a semester worth of knowledge and limited amount of time, students may not know the best time to begin the studying process. “I would recommend starting to prepare for them well ahead of time. That way, if you find something you don’t understand you have time to ask your professor questions, not to mention your stress level will be much lower than if you wait until the last minute,” said Liz Dunn, a UMF senior and tutor at the Writing Center.
For some students, studying all the class material early may not be possible due to a hectic schedule. “I would encourage all students to ‘start early’ but realistically we know that no one wants to do that. However, what I tell my advisees is to look at their schedule, and see what is due around the last three weeks before finals. If it looks busy, they most likely won’t have time to study. So over those few weeks I’d say to pick one section of the class topics and study only that,” said Jenny Calden, a senior at UMF and peer mentor to freshmen in the undecided program.
A whole semester’s worth of material may appear to be impossible to memorize, but a helpful tool is to break down the information into sections, instead of looking at the giant picture. “To help prepare for the exam, you need to look back at the previous pieces, sometimes called the scaffolding, to be able to accomplish the more sophisticated tasks,” said Teresa Swartz Roberts, Coordinator of Writing Support Services, which includes being director of The Writing Center, “If you take just a little time after class each day to think about what you have learned and how it fits with what you’ve learned already, you will be prepared for the next concept.”
Having visual aids and hands on material are often helpful study tools for students. “Making study guides, and sometimes flashcards, helps me a great deal. I end up learning a lot of the material as I’m making them, and afterwards I know exactly what I need to focus on,” said Dunn.
Being positive is very useful during this stressful time in college students’ lives; however, it is important to not be overconfident. “Mistakes would be thinking that you “already know it” so therefore you don’t need to study,” said Calden, “Even if it is your favorite class and you think you have a good grip on the material, study anyway!”