Apr 21, 2009

Helpful Tips for Finals

by Emily DeFosse

The school year is coming to an end, and that means finals are fast approaching. Studying for exams can cause plenty of late nights, stress and anxiety. The staff of the Bruckner Learning Center (BLC), under the direction of Heather Schoffstall, has some tips to help students make it to May 9 in one piece.

Manage time wisely

One of the biggest struggles students face during finals week is time management. Denny McHaney, coordinator for the Office of Disability Academic Support (ODAS) and assistant professor of education, has noticed this trend in students.

“The most common problem I see is waiting until the last minute to study for a test,” McHaney said. “Then students don’t have enough time to truly absorb the material or they stay up all night studying and then can’t think during the test due to fatigue.”
Assistant Professor of Education, Steve Amburgey has a remedy for this bad habit.

“I would encourage (students) to space their study time out over several days instead of one long session,” Amburgey said. “They should spend time on each subject each day for a week leading up to their finals.”

Assistant Director of the BLC Ralph Jernigan agrees with Amburgey. He encourages students to begin studying right away.

“Start with an overview of your quizzes or homework. Then, at least a week before the exam, divide the number of chapters, pages of notes and powerpoints by the number of days you have to study,” Jernigan said. “Begin no later than one week ahead with intensive, daily study.”

Be Creative
Connie Hansen, advisor for ODAS and assistant professor of education, suggests students compile the information they need to study and use various memorization techniques to learn the information beginning several days before the test.

“Memory techniques such as note cards, self-testing, study groups, associations, mapping, acronyms, visual images and verbal repetition aid students because they are using multiple senses,” Hansen said.

Ask for Help
Students are often hindered in their studies because they do not understand something and do not get help.

“If (students) are not doing well in a particular subject they can go to the Tutoring and Testing Center and sign up for free tutoring or go to the tutoring Web site at liberty.edu/tutoring to see when free group tutoring is,” Schoffstall said. “All the student has to do is show up to the session.”

Most professors are more than willing to help students understand concepts they have struggled with throughout the semester.

Schoffstall recommends students use copies of old exams, homework and notes to supplement their study session. If there is anything the student still does not understand they should ask the professor or talk to other students in the class.

Finish Strong
Perhaps the best advice BLC can give to students came from Lecturer of Education Denise Green.

“Compare your semester to running a race and your finals are the finish line,” Green said. “A lot of runners slow up when they see the finish line and often lose the race because of that … practically speaking, try to get plenty of rest, eat healthy and take a walk or run to release tension and help you focus better between study sessions.”

Contact Emily DeFosse at


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