Published: Monday, November 27, 2006
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 22:06
With finals only a week away, students might be looking for ways to get the most out of their studying. While some students have developed a proven method for studying for exams, others are still searching for the best way to prepare for finals.
Bruce Tuckman, a professor of education and director of the Walter E. Dennis Learning Center, said there are a few basic things students can do to enhance their study sessions.
First, Tuckman said students should avoid procrastination when studying for exams.
“Students don’t start soon enough,” Tuckman said. “That’s the biggest mistake. It’s better to start in advance because you can’t cram a whole lot of information into your head and have it stay there if you try to do it at the last minute.”
Kelly Price, tutoring program coordinator for the Office of Minority Affairs, said she agreed procrastination is a major problem for students.
“Procrastinating and then cramming is ineffective for long-term recall of what has been learned in class,” Price said. “It is also very ineffective; imagine spending all that time right before a midterm to memorize all of the material for that particular test, only to immediately forget most of it once the test is over.”
Tuckman said he suggests students form study groups with other students in the class.
“In study groups, students can divide up the tasks and reinforce one another,” Tuckman said. “They can each have a responsibility and they can re-teach the material to others in the group. It also makes it harder to stop and do something else when everyone else in the group is studying.”
Kierstin Montano, a senior in psychology, said she studies better alone.
“I tend to waste time when I study with other people,” she said. “Or I don’t study the same way they do, so it doesn’t work.”
Tuckman said students should find an appropriate study environment.
“I think the best environment is somewhere where it’s quiet,” he said. “A lot of people try to watch TV and study at the same time and it just doesn’t work.”
For students who might have trouble remembering material, Tuckman said they should try to make outlines.
“Make an outline of the material that’s going to be covered on the exam,” Tuckman said. “Then, make an outline of the outline. And then make an outline of the outline of the outline. Each time you do that, try to condense the material more so you’ll still be able to recognize it, but the piece of the material will not be that long.”
Students who need extra help studying for exams have several options available to them on campus, Price said.
“(OMA offers) specific review sessions throughout the quarter and during finals week to assist students with studying for finals,” Price said. “We also have study skills handouts and additional online resources available on our webpage.”
Price also said students get help from their professors.
“Professors and TAs are another excellent resource because they can help students to understand any mistakes they’ve made on previous tests and help students formulate strategies for future exams,” Price said. “OSU departments and/or professors may also offer practice tests online for students to utilize as tools.”
Montano said students who have trouble studying for exams should “try to get study guides from your professors and take good notes in class.”
Tuckman said the main thing is students should be confident in their knowledge of the material.
“People who do the worst on exams, other than people who don’t study, are people who become so anxious about the test that they are unable to remember things,” he said. “One of the big factors in reducing test anxiety is going in there with a feeling that you really know the material.”