Tips for surviving the semester

Ingrid Schmidt

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Being an effective college student can seem overwhelming.  As the first month of school wraps up, there are all sorts of projects, essays, and tests for every class eating up students’ free time.

But with the right tools, it can be simple for students to stay on top of their work.

A large part of being a successful student is staying organized.  According to Alec Temple, a student tutor, writing out assignments and projects is one way to stay on top of your work.

“Have somewhere that you record the classes that you have and the assignments that you need for each course,” Temple said.  “I use a whiteboard near my desk and my Google calendar.”

Getting a planner is another way that students can help get themselves organized according to Denisia Stoops, Ashland University’s Tutor Coordinator.  She said students need to “write down everything” in their planners.

“Not only should they include their classes, but they should also include the dates for all their quizzes, tests, assignments, and leisure time and remember to check their agenda very often,” Stoops said.

Having a planner can help students to prioritize their assignments and activities.  Temple suggests going through classes chronologically and completing the work for the next class.

However, it is important that students make sure that they do not put their work off until the last minute she said.

“If you have tons of papers due the same day, work on them ahead of schedule,” Temple said.

Developing good study skills is another important part of being a college student.  Stoops suggests studying two hours for each hour spent in a classroom.  

There are many different ways that students can go about studying.  Temple said re-reading notes can be a very effective study habit.  

“After listening in class and writing down what is said, reading the notes you took will greatly reinforce what you learned,” she said.

Elizabeth Davis, senior theatre major, finds that flashcards and practice tests are great ways to study for a test or exam.

“My friends and I, will all sit down, we’ll make practice tests and then you create your own key.  That way you have an idea of what might be on the test,” Davis said.

If students are struggling with a class, one of the first steps to take is to talk to the professor, Davis said.  

“Your professors are here to help you succeed. Since we have such a small school, your professors are willing to sit down and talk you through some things,” she said.

Tutoring is available for free for students who feel they may need help in a class.  Students can request a tutor by going to and filling out a tutor request form. 

“Tutoring is not only for the struggling student,” Stoops said. “Tutoring is for any student who is not performing at their best at any level.”

The hard work students put in throughout the semester all leads up to finals week.  And although finals week can be stressful, there are several things students can do to help the week go smoothly Stoops said.

“Make sure to understand what material will be tested on the final,” she said, “Review your notes, assignments, and examples from the lecture on the professor’s handout.”

It is important for students to not wear themselves out during finals week.  Students need to remember that all of their hard work and success throughout the semester, has prepared them for finals, Davis said.

“Study up until finals, so that when finals comes, you need to trust yourself to know you have done enough,” Davis said. “You don’t want to get to finals week and cram everything in, and be super stressed. Take that extra nap, you deserve it.  You’ve worked hard this semester, you know what you’re doing.”

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