Tag Archives: studying

How to Fall in Love with Your Classes

Spring classes not love at first sight? Here are some ways to get the sparks flying.

When you start dating someone, especially in the beginning, you betteaacgraph2r be on your best behavior. This means, listening to all of the stories, nodding your head when appropriate, laughing on cue, asking deep questions. All of which you cannot do if you are busy live tweeting the waiter’s sarcastic comments, instagramming your food, or taking quizzes to find out which historical figure has your same zodiac sign. The same goes for your classes. When you are in class, give it your full attention.

  • If you have to use your computer, turn the internet off so you aren’t tempted to go online.
  • Sit close to the front of the class, it makes it easier to pay attention.
  • When you don’t understand something, ask a question. It shows your interest.

The quality time you spend with your classes now will only make it easier to succeed later in the semester.

Believe it or not, you CAN make your study sessions fun! Instead of rolling your eyes at the thought of another afternoon in the library, try to think of it as going on a date with your classes. When you go on a date, you don’t always want to go to the same place every time. The same can be true for studying. Mix it up! Spend an afternoon with your class materials in Starbucks. You can sip coffee, graacgraph1ab a snack, and listen to music as you read through your notes. Hungry for dinner? Take your notes with you! If you mix studying with something enjoyable, you may actually find yourself looking forward to your study dates! So, when is your next study date going to be? Try planning one each week this semester.

It may not be love at first sight, but after giving your classes some time you may find that you will start to warm up to them and you may just hit it off.

Academic Achievement Center


Finals FAQ’s …..Answered!

kcFinals time has finally arrived! You may find yourself asking a lot of questions about how you should prepare for your finals. We have the answers to some of the most common questions!

I have so many exams to study for; how can I maximize my time when studying?

Consider your preferred learning style. When studying, do you learn best by: using images and diagrams? Repeating aloud the material and talking about it with others? Working with models and being physically engaged with the content? Reading and writing….and then, rereading and rewriting? These characteristics describe four different learning styles – visual, auditory, kinesthetic, read/write.   Draw on study strategies that match your preferred way to learn in order to maximize your study time.   Find specific study strategies for each learning style by viewing the Targeting your Learning Style for Success presentation in the Academic Success & Study Strategies section on our resource page.

Where do I get the help I need?First, consider what kind of help it is that you need. Are you struggling with course content? Need help making a study plan? Stressed out? Once you determine what kind of help you need you can pinpoint the appropriate campus resource(s):

o   Professors – Don’t forget that your teacher is the one who writes the exam! Take advantage of office hours and get the information you need.

o   Academic Achievement Center– Stop by the AAC for tutoring: “Last Minute Finals Q&A Sessions” run by AAC tutors.

o   Library Resources – The library offers extended hours during finals to accommodate busy schedules. Also, check out the schedule for the “Relax your Brain” tables.

o   Writing Center – Don’t delay getting assistance with your papers. Visit the writing center to make an appointment or call 410-704-3426.

o   Counseling Center – Call or visit the counseling center to learn about programs and workshops that can help to reduce stress and anxiety during this busy time of year.

What if my “final” is a paper?

Start drafting your paper as soon as possible to give yourself enough time to revise your paper a few times before turning it in.   Wayne Robertson, Director of TU’s Writing Center suggests these tips for revising your paper:

o   Read aloud to catch errors and sentences that sound awkward. In any given day, you listen to a lot more language than you read. The result is that your ear is usually a much better editor than your eyes. Find yourself a quiet room and just read the entire paper aloud. Any time you stumble, rework that sentence to make it sound smoother.

o   Use an outline…after you have a draft.   Try this: After you’ve written your paper, look at each paragraph individually. What is the purpose of that paragraph? Is it to introduce a new point? Is it to provide another piece of evidence to support a prior point? Is it to examine a counter-argument? Organization is best addressed on the paragraph level. Once you understand the purpose of each paragraph, you can see the overall movement of your argument, which will help you reorganize. After making any larger organizational changes, now go through and rewrite the first sentence of each paragraph based on its purpose. If the paragraph is introducing an alternate perspective, you might start the paragraph by writing, “Of course, some may argue…” If the paragraph is adding the consequences of an idea, you might write “The consequences of changing this policy….” If organization is something you usually have trouble with, this simple exercise can really help. faq

o   Get feedback from other readers. Students often assume good writers work effortlessly. They don’t. Writing is difficult for everyone, and almost everything that‘s published has been looked at by multiple people. Ask other people to give you feedback on where they get confused, about where they might not be convinced of your argument, and on how focused the ideas seem to be. Ask friends, family and faculty for input, and of course, use the writing center

I am stressed about my finals, what do I do?Exam stress can be reduced if the right strategies are put into action. Study early and often to avoid the additional stress that last minute cramming causes. Create a balanced schedule during exams that integrates focused studying, breaks and rewards. Practice regular deep breathing and remember to get lots of sleep. Use your bed only for sleeping. If you find you are restless and cannot get your finals out of your mind – get up, leave your bedroom and create a worry list that you will tackle the next day (Sharer, N., Towson University Counseling Center). Listen to relaxing music before bed and silence your cell phone. A little bit of nervousness during exams is normal – take a deep breath and put your hard work into action.

Should I cram or should I sleep? It can be tempting to wait to the last minute and try to stay up really late or not even go to bed at all when trying to study for finals. However, getting a good night’s rest is just as important as studying all of the information that you need to cover. There have been countless studies conducted to support this and they have shown that 8-9 hours of sleep the night before an exam improves the ability to recall information studied. They have also shown that too little sleep is harmful for your recollection on exam day. This isn’t your pass to not study for your test; your studying needs to be done in a way that allows you to get the amount of sleep that you need to perform to the best of your ability on exam day.

Jeremy Boettinger
Learning Specialist
Academic Achievement Center

Jennifer Wendt
Learning Specialist
Academic Achievement Center

Brittany Bell
Graduate Assistant
Academic Achievement center

A Tiger’s Tale for a Healthy and Balanced Lifestyle

As if acclimating to your new college environment isn’t enough (moving in, making friends, finding your way around campus), you also get bombarded with the looming threat that most college students will have a difficult time making healthy choices in their new college lifestyle.  From needing fuel for all the late night study sessions, snacking with friends, and the delicious all-you-can-eat dining halls, sometimes it’s harder to eat healthy.  College stressors can make eating healthy, nutritious, energizing food and remembering to exercise more difficult.  Here are a few helpful suggestions to keep you healthy and thriving in new academic year:

  1. Go to Burdick Hall.  You know that student services fee on your TU bill?  Well part of those fees went towards your membership to the TU Fitness Center in Burdick. You paid for it, so go use it! From treadmills to stationary bikes, tiny free weights to hardcore 1weight machines, the fitness center has whatever you need to stay active and manage stress.  Does the thought of running on a treadmill bore you to tears?  Campus Rec has some amazing group fitness classes that should peak anyone’s interest.  The group fitness instructors are no joke and will make working out fun.  Check out the group fitness schedule here.
  2. Eat food that fuels your body.  At home, mom and dad made sure you got your balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but they aren’t here to make sure you are eating something green at least once a week.  It’s now on you to make sure you are making healthy food choices and that can be a tough transition.  If you feel yourself start to develop some not so healthy eating habits, check out ChooseMyPlate.gov where you will find many resources on healthy eating habits such as the food pyramid so you can make informed and healthy decisions in regards to your diet.
  3. Make physical activity a part of your schedule.  With studying, reading, writing papers, hanging with college friends, and still keeping up with high school friends, your weekly schedule can get really full really fast.  Just like you use a planner to write out when and how long you should be studying, pencil in when you think you can work out.  And just because you aren’t at the gym, doesn’t mean you aren’t being active.  Live in West Village but have class in Stephens?  Wake up a few minutes early and walk there instead of taking the bus.  Take a longer route than normal to squeeze in some extra active time.  Tackling all those campus hills will be worth it in the long run.
  4. Avoid late night snacking.  A trip to Taco Bell always sounds like the best idea ever at 1 AM, but come morning it doesn’t sound (or feel) so smart.  It’s hard to say no to quality time with your friends, especially when you are in the ‘still getting to know you’ phase with everyone.  You should still go and hang out with your friends, but the late night junk food raids can really mess up your health fast.
  5. Drink more WATER.  We all know how many variety’s of drinks there out there to choose from. From sodas, to sports drinks, to every fruity concoction you can think of, the options are endless. The same goes for all the “healthier” diet or sugar free varieties, lot’s of choices. However don’t forget, by far and away the healthiest option is always water. 60% of our bodies are comprised of water and there are so many benefits in terms of health and well-being. Check out six of them here2
  6. Treat yo’self! Tom Haverford’s immortal words of wisdom never rang more true.  When trying to survive a stressful semester at college, it’s ok to indulge every now and then.  Just kicked butt on your midterms?  Grab some ice cream after dinner.  Did you exercise and eat balanced meals all week?  Treat yourself to some pizza with friends.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t about restriction, it’s knowing when to say yes to a sweet treat because you deserve it and when to say no to a late night Chinese food delivery from Towson’s Best because you are bored.

Making the transition from home cooked meals to dining halls, regimented high school schedules to most of your days being open after class can be difficult when trying to maintain a healthy balance.  Remember, college is about discovering who you are and that also includes figuring out how to take care of yourself on your own. Don’t beat yourself up if turning over a new leaf is harder than you think.  We all go through highs and lows when trying to figure what it means to be healthy and happy.  But there is a silver lining to this process:  the healthy habits you establish now will help you out for the rest of your adult life.

Caitlin Duda
FTP Advisor
Community College of Baltimore County

With input from:

Kasey Serdar, PhD
Staff Psychologist, Eating Disorder Services Coordinator
The Counseling Center

Types of Students during Finals Week

Doesn’t it seem like every semester finals come around faster than you thought they would?  Now you find yourself stressing about studying enough for each class and trying to figure out what grade you can possibly get in each class.  Everyone hunkers down in their favorite study spots whether it is in Cook Library, Liberal Arts, or your dorm.  Everyone seems to be so busy!  procrastinationHere is a fun list of students that you will probably run into in your favorite study spot.

Crammers use the remaining balance on their student account to buy Red Bull and coffee.  During finals week, you scope out areas, restaurants, and coffee shops open 24-hours. The night before a final, you glue yourself to your notes, dust off your textbook and start reading.  Your table at the library has a pile of old food containers, empty Starbucks cups, and papers everywhere.  Your eyes are bloodshot but determined.  Wondering why all the weird looks from students passing you by in the library? They see your sleeping bag and pillow and the I’ve-been-cramming-for-3-days-straight look on your face.

Your motto at finals time is “you can do it!” Your idea of preparing for finals is to bake cookies for people studying, write “good luck” notes on your roommate’s door, and stand outside lecture halls with big YOU CAN DO IT signs. What’s in your calendar?  The dates/times of Dan’s, Carrie’s, Beth’s, Tim’s, and Emma’s exams, of course.  Someone has to pump them up and that someone is you!

Social Media Addict
Social media addicts FREAK OUT during finals because they don’t know if they will make it through the 1-hour, no-cell-phone final.  You secretly wish you could tweet your answers to your professors and then do a quick search in the app store for “complete finals app” and no luck.  Your idea of preparing for finals is to schedule posts in advance on Facebook, warn your Twitter followers months in advance that @socialmediaaddict will be MIA be6tween 10:00am-11:00am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and ask a friend to repin new Pinterest pins while you are taking your exams.  During each exam, you go through an entire pack of gum and tap your thumb to minimize your withdrawal symptoms. You hope that maybe pretending to post your next Instragram photo will help you focus more on the final and less on what’s happening on Instagram.

All-stars make up a famous group of talented, well-prepared, and high-performing students.  The all-star student starts preparin8g for finals the first day of class. Right from the start, your dorm or house is filled with stacks of flashcards, highlighted notes, and marked textbook pages.  You can recite the date and exact time of each final and likely have your pencil sharpened and set aside for these special days.  In class, you’re the first one to raise your hand and ask, “Will this be on the final?” Even though the professor says no, you star it anyway “just in case”.  You want to be prepared, right?

Preparing for Finals Tips

  • Use the AAC’s tutoring services & Professors’ office hours
  • Create a Study Schedule
  • Use your course syllabus or study guide to focus on the material you need to know
  • Take breaks while studying; we recommend taking a 3-5 minute break every 30-45 minutes
  • Sleep! At least the recommend amount
  • Find a distraction-free study area
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to study; start now!
  • Study the material using a variety of methods (i.e., flashcards, completing practice problems, and reciting aloud the content)
  • Form a study group
  • Create a practice test

Jennifer Wendt & Jeremy Boettinger
Learning Specialists
Academic Achievement Center

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