My apologies for being absent for the past two weeks; however, as the title suggest, this was my first round of exams and my social life outside of books and highlighters came to a complete stop.
I mean, we all know that time is coming… Every semester, you can pretty much guess that roughly 4-5 weeks after the first round of classes, you will have some kind of assignment due.
So, what was my first round like, you may ask? Well here we go: On Tuesday had a research paper due on the center of a state, Wednesday I had two exams (Nutrition Through the Life Cycle and Urban Politics), then Thursday I had a quiz for my Orientation Class. All in all, I think they all went well and I am pretty pleased. I mean, of course the exams were difficult but I felt as though they were balanced and even.
With that, I will give you the “Landon Sparks, University of Texas, Exam Studying Information.”
First, make sure you have completed all of the readings that are going to be over the class. I know that we sometimes would rather give ourselves paper cuts on our eye than read our “U.S.-China Imperialism” but I mean really, professors expect you not to read the books and just study the notes… So that automatically gives you a leg up.
Second, begin studying a week in advance… at least. Take it from a kid that wanted to be a doctor for a semester… The earlier you start to study, the better you are going to do. If the professor hasn’t released the review at the one week mark, make your own. I love flash cards. No, I mean I should probably own stocks in Oxford… Yes, I know the company that makes flash cards… You can even turn the flash cards into a game and invite all of your friends… Who doesn’t love to study “Greek Art and Mythology” on a Wednesday night?
Third, actually do the review once it is released. I feel like if a professor is going to take the time to make a review, you should at least take a gander at it. I mean, the worst that can happen is that at the end of the semester when you are two points away from that A-, you can go in and beg, show all of your work and then pray she has some sympathy (true story!) No but seriously, usually the reviews that the professor comes out with will help you narrow down some of the things that you need to study and tells you just how much you still need to study.
Fourth, attend the office hours, review sessions, TA hours… whatever. Not only does it help the professor get to learn your name with a face (again, this comes in handy when you are begging for your life at the end of the semester) but it also can again, narrow down some of what you need to know and shows you what you need to know more. I’ve even had those professors that have all but given away the exact questions and answers for the exam. For example, when you are sitting there and a professor says, “You should really be familiar with the glycogen cycle.” Then odds are, there is going to be at least one question relating to the glycogen cycle.
Fifth, when studying, make sure you are studying properly. Sitting in a huge group half on facebook, half texting, (yes, that equals one) and no studying… Then you may not be studying properly. I assure you that simply sitting the book on your lap open is not going to help you study… I’ve tried. I’ve slept on my book, I’ve laid it on my lap, I’ve put my hands on it and chanted gibberish (hey, if it worked… I would’ve told you sooner)… I’ve done it all. When I say study, I mean go to a quiet area (but not freakishly quiet, then you just feel like you are waiting for Freddy or Jason to jump out and you can’t focus), find an area you can spread all of your stuff out on, and then begin to study. My personal favorite place is the computer lab in the Flawn Academic Center.
Sixth, this is the most crucial tip of all… Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the exam. Study for a fixed amount of time and then take a 1/6 break. To better explain, if you study an hour then take a ten minute break. Etc. Etc. I’m not a psychologist or anything… But my brain will literally stop working if it stares at “Christianity, Judaism, and Islam” for too long. Just allow yourself a break and if you have two exams… then mix it up… Study one for an hour, ten minute break, then a different one for an hour, ten minute break… Then just go back and forth.
I guess now is when I should give my public disclaimer saying that I am not a trained studiologist, nor did a stay in a holiday inn… or is it holiday inn express… either way, i didn’t not stay in one last night. Are those commercials still on TV? I am simply a kid from DeKalb who has had to study for all of the things I mentioned in my notes.. Greek Art and Mythology, U.S.-China Imperialism, Glucogen Cycle (the worst EVER), and Christianity, Judaism, and Islam… Also, I know that we all learn differently and have our own little tricks that get us through the night… Because we know we won’t be sleeping in those nights prior to exams.
So best of luck to all of my fellow students with their exams!
Ciao and Hook’em!