Core Decorum

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UD students, snoozers and slackers,
With the first round of exams fast approaching, you should be feeling confident and clairvoyant about those final papers and tests. But most of you may be feeling a sense of, “Oh good grief, where did the semester go!?!” Here are some helpers to get you through finals week.

1. Just say no: Shed some commitments. You’ll find you’ll have a lot easier time studying if you make extra time for it. Put off any unnecessary social obligations or family commitments. And if you’re working, try if at all possible to cut your hours for the final exam period. Even a few strategically placed extra hours can make the difference between doing just OK on finals and doing a fantastic job.

2. Know your classes, know your study time. Some students think they should spend equal amounts of time preparing for each of their finals. That should not be the case. Instead, proportion your study time to how hard the final is likely to be and how well you already know the material.

3. Eat and be merry. Take full advantage of all the free food on campus this week. Midnight Breakfast is a glorious event that brings students together. Not only will you get a generous plate of vittles, but chances are the study body will break out into the national anthem.

4. Figure out what’s going to be covered. Are readings and discussion sections included, or is the final going to focus almost exclusively on material from the lectures? Is the final going to concentrate on materials since the midterm, or is it going to be a comprehensive or a final? Understanding the scope of the exam will make it much easier to organize and structure your studying. But before you start studying, make sure you’ve figured out your professor’s test-construction strategy.

5. Study with a buddy or with a group … but only if it makes sense. Many students believe (mistakenly) that a study group always affords an advantage: more brain power plus peer pressure to crack the books. This works well when your study buddies and you bring your A-game to the sessions. But study time isn’t charity time – Machiavelli would totally embrace that and, sadly, so should you. Also, study time does not mean that your group examines every single youtube video with babies and cats.

6. Cram and review with the profs. If there is a review session being held by the professors, take advantage of it. Some of it will be a boring repeat, but other parts will give you a window into what the final will be like. Your teachers might sum up the high points of the course, do sample questions or problems, give study tips, or sometimes just divulge how he or she is thinking about the topics of the course. In any event, it’s the single biggest help in studying for the final. If anything, it won’t be a waste of your time.

7. Be sure to organize and develop your answers. Many students don’t realize that, on essay exams, part of what’s graded is how well you establish your thought process, not just how correct it is. Consider explaining your points in more detail so that someone unfamiliar with the answer would know, just from what you say, what the answer is. Read over your answers if you have the time.

8. Celebrate. And celebrate well. No description needed. Just remember to be on your best decorum!
Happy finals, everyone …

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