Don’t Panic: Top 15 Tips for Finals

Editor’s note:  Don’t panic, but finals week is just days away.  The good news is there are a variety of great ideas to help you cross the finish line. Check out these Top 15 Hot Tips for Finals, listed in US News Education.  We curated and rephrased the advice here (below). Also be sure to check out NIU’s De-Stress Fest on April 30th!

 

Top 15 Study Tips

1.  Use Bite-sized Study Strategies.  If you have 7 days until a final, don’t wait until the 11th hour to start cramming.  Do this instead:  “…divide the course into sevenths and study two weeks’ worth of lectures each day.”

2.  Protect your Time and your Focus.  Here’s where your time management skills *really* come into play.  Drop any unnecessary or any time-consuming social activities so you can use that time to focus on your studies.  Every moment counts.  According to the list on US Education:  “…Even a few strategically placed extra hours can make the difference between doing just OK on finals and doing a really great job.”

3.  Face your fears.  Instead of studying an equal amount for each final, look at all of your finals and figure out which courses are the most challenging for you.  If you know a final exam is going to be difficult, evaluate how well you know the material (be honest with yourself).  Then, if you need to, devote more time studying for the difficult final exam and spend less time avoiding it by focusing on other courses that you are strong in.

4.  Get a lay of the exam terrain.  Ask your professor to share what’s likely to be on the exam.  Readings?  Discussions?  Material from lectures?  Is it comprehensive or will it cover only a certain number of chapters?  When you know the context for the final — the extent and the boundaries — you can organize and structure your studying.

5.  Understand how your professor asks questions.  Ask your professors about the approach she or he will take with questions.  Will the final be a big question or two?  Or will it be a series of focused questions that cover specific material in the course?

6.  Study examples.  If your professor ever said — “That would make a good final exam question” — then you might want to “take the hint” and review that particular topic and example.  Other resources to include in your studies include Study Guides or Review Questions, most particularly if they are pointed out by your professor.

7.  Engage in Group Study or “not so much”.  If it helps you stay focused and on track, study groups are great.  If you find them more a distraction than anything, just remember it’s your time and energy that you want to protect so that you can do the work you need to do.

8.  Attend review sessions.  Eighty percent of success is showing up!  If your professor offers a review session, make sure to be there.  Review sessions are often the most under-used resources but can be the single biggest help to you.  When professors give you a review session, you get a glimpse into how they are thinking about a topic or what they consider to be the high points of a course.  Think of it as a cram session with your professor — and it’s really the only worthwhile cram session to take part of!

9.  Utilize your notes (when allowed).  If your professor allows you to bring your notes to class, make sure your notes are organized and clear.  That means take them out and look at them.  This will also reinforce the material and the refresher — along with clean notes — will make it more likely that you will express your ideas clearly and well during exam time.

10.  Size up the test right when you get it!  Before you start answering questions, take a couple of minutes when you receive the test to get a lay of the land:  how many questions are on it?  how much does each part count?   Then make a decision upfront about how much time you will spend on each question.  This will help you focus and help you manage your time during the exam.

11.  Write clear essay answers.  Unless your professor indicates otherwise, much of what is graded here has to do with the correct answer AND with how well you develop and explain your answer.  So develop your answers fully and clearly.  Oftentimes it helps to think about how you would explain your answers to a sibling or a friend who isn’t familiar with the topic.

12.  Help the professor to give you a good grade.  Professors grade upwards of 70 finals over a two-three day period.  Make it easier for them to give you a good grade by providing them with neatly written essays.  Your essay should:  make clear the question you’re answering and should begin to provide the answer in the very first sentence.

13.  Pace yourself.  Think of a final exam as a work session that is divided into sub-sessions.  Stay focused in each part and take each question one at a time.  Between parts, take a short breather for a few short seconds-minutes before starting the next part.

14.  Don’t panic.  Remember that most tests are designed to have some harder questions and some easier questions.  That means that the overall degree of difficulty will vary over a 2-3 hour exam period.  Ignore the feeling of a “roller coaster.”  Stay focused on the material and don’t dwell on how well you think the exam is going.

15.  It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over.  Stay for the entire exam time.  Use any extra time to double-check your work:  go over your answers, proofread, or add more clarity to your essay answers.  Remember your goal is to help your professor to give you a good grade, so take the extra time to make sure the work you turn in represents you as well as it can.

 

Don’t forget to stay hydrated, eat healthy foods, get rest, and above all don’t panic.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL … YOU’LL DO GREAT!

4 Ways to Study Smarter

Editor’s Note:  We recently asked students on our Facebook wall for their suggestions on how to have a successful semester.  Here are some responses, all of them great ideas in easily digestible pieces that range from using an app to the extremes of going off the grid entirely. Check these suggestions out and see if any of them work for you.

 

  • Make a to do list of smaller, specific tasks so even if things like traffic (or Netflix) prevent you from getting the whole list done, you can still feel accomplished about all the tasks you were able to check off.  ~ Chloe Pooler, NIU Business student
  • I use the SelfControll app for my computer. I block websites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Buzzfeed, PGA, and other sites that distract me from studying. I usually set it for 5 hours so I can be as productive as I can without distracting myself.  ~ Liv Stanger, NIU Business student
  • When I’m studying for an exam, I disconnect the internet so I’m not distracted. ~ Dave Guilford, NIU Business student
  • I try to look ahead at future projects and then I plan accordingly. I normally make sure that I have things completed by Friday night in order for the weekend to be a breeze. If I put it off it just bugs me the entire weekend.  ~ Clayton Dean, NIU Business student

“Big Dreams, Little Wallets”

Editor’s Note: This blog post will be part of a four part series introducing the four OMIS 352 students behind the project to organize a $10,000 scholarship for College of Business Students. For any readers who don’t know what OMIS 352 is it’s referred to as Managing Projects in Business. These four students took the time to organize this project all on their own by picking this focus of establishing a scholarship fund for College of Business students.  To start us off we give you Gabriella Lopez, she gives her take on why this scholarship is important to her on many levels.

My name is Gabriella Lopez and I am a first generation college student here at the College of Business.  I have been helped tremendously by scholarships from both NIU and private organizations. They have allowed me to not only begin and continue my education, but do so with the peace of mind that I will be able to make ends meet as the semester comes to a close. I work multiple jobs while on break from school, and even still, I don’t think my education here would be possible without this help. I am passionate about establishing this scholarship not only because I know how helpful it is to students with big dreams and little wallets, but because I want these students to be able to reach those dreams, despite whatever their financial situation may be, and let them know that we believe in them, and that they can get there.

Here is the link to the donations page for the $5000 scholarship.

http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/dreamworks-scholarship/91552

Also if you can’t donate directly to the page or want to help out even more come to the Dreamworks Scholarship Culver’s Night!

https://www.facebook.com/events/229417650549425/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar

What is this CAUSE all about?

I’m excited to interrupt the “Getting Involved” series of posts (which will resume next week) in order to introduce the very first Guest Post!  This week’s Guest Post comes from Ryan Sterling, a senior at NIU’s College of Business.  Ryan is also a co-Founder and Events Director of NIU CAUSE, a new student organization in the college.  Here are Ryan’s own words about NIU CAUSE, why it’s so meaningful, and how you can participate and make a difference in the world.

 What is this CAUSE all about ~ by Ryan Sterling Head Shot Professional What is this CAUSE all about?

In the coming months I will be taking the next steps in life, that of course being graduation and then a career in sales. I have been so fortunate to take part in so many opportunities here at NIU and in the College of Business (COB). All of which I feel have set me up for what I believe will be a successful career. That being said in my final semester I ask myself why I should put more on my plate by founding an organization. Well, the short answers are I love being involved, and giving back to the community. But CAUSE is so much more than that to me.

This semester I needed more credit hours in the college and so a friend recommended I take a course in the college called:  Management 311 Social Entrepreneurship (MGMT 311). Going into the course I didn’t know really much about MGMT 311 except Dennis Barsema was the instructor. In the first class Mr. Barsema asked if anyone would be interested in starting a social entrepreneurship (SE) club. The following class sessions I had become so empowered that I had to do something to improve the community around me and those abroad. After several meetings just this semester CAUSE was off the ground and running.

The name was one of the harder things to establish. We wanted to include SE in to the title and one of the founders came up with the acronym CAUSE and we liked it but we didn’t have a word to use for the letter U. After a few days an idea came to Dr. Christine Mooney (NIU CAUSE’s faculty advisor) while she was attending a conference. “Unreasonable” she said in the following week’s executive board meeting. The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World by authors John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan the book we are reading in MGMT 311. It was only fitting that we use the term because of what the definition means in the book “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world” whereas “the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” That is how the Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs (CAUSE) was born.

Panel Picture 2 224x300 What is this CAUSE all about?After we met for a few weeks CAUSE was ready with a series of informational meetings to get the word out, and find out why other people want to make a difference. As the Events Director, I was responsible for putting together our kickoff event Panel Discussion this past Tuesday night which featured Rowan Richards of Steward’s Market and Kathleen Wright of Collaborative Group. The turnout and execution of the event was simply rewarding and I know my fellow peers were able to take something away from the experience. I encourage everyone to join NIU CAUSE and take part in the Entrepreneurship certificate classes. I am glad I learned about other ways businesses can positively affect their customers.

CAUSE logo 300x138 What is this CAUSE all about?Here’s how you can join CAUSE and make a difference in the world by attending our weekly meetings Tuesday nights in Barsema Hall Room 227 at 6:30pm. In addition, Follow @NIUCAUSE on Twitter, Add us on Facebook at C.A.U.S.E (Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs), or by sending your email address to  me at Richard.Ryan.Sterling@gmail.com and we will be more than happy to add you to our Google Group  which will keep you updated with upcoming events. This is a new organization so we are receptive to hearing about any way people want to make a difference and we are more than willing to help people make that impact.