With finals around the corner, students are aware that studying and being prepared is beneficial for satisfactory exam scores. For some students, finals week is one of the final steps toward graduating and moving forward into their future. At Kean University, students are given resources to develop their skills and better their knowledge.
Moreover, the following tools are provided to help students prepare for exams. In the Nancy Thompson Library Learning Commons, students can find the Tutoring Services, Writing Center and Speech Lab, which implement techniques that can be used when test-taking.
Tutoring Services offers tutoring for a variety of undergraduate courses, focusing on student needs such as comprehension and learning in introductory and senior level courses. For more information on the department and its offerings, visit "Tutoring and Learning Support Services" on the Kean website.
The Writing Center helps students garner skills needed for writing materials like essays, lab reports, cover letters, graduate school admissions essays, job applications and other written projects. Tutors are there to aid students in achieving their writing goals while offering strategies to become skilled writers. For more information on this department, visit "Writing Center" on the Kean website.
In terms of what students use and how these services affect their test-taking skills, students find ways to combat final exams and projects.
One of these students is Joseph Hamilton, a senior studying communication studies, and he spoke on his prior experience of studying for exams.
"If you maintain your studies all semester, finals should be a review test anyway. I’ve learned that the hard way, I am not perfect," Hamilton said. "As far as finals week goes, it’s stressful. That whole month leading up is stressful for everyone. Professors are given guidelines of what they have to get as graded work from students...as a writer I find cumulative essays at the end of the year better express what I’ve learned throughout the semester."
Although the library has learning resources, Hamilton notes that tools as simple as the computer lab printer is useful, too.
"Review sheets are essential. If a professor is not transparent about what knowledge is expected for success on their tests, then it's irrelevant how much you know...that’s why I keep my text books. I’ve gone back and used them as references when I got into the higher level classes," Hamilton said.
In terms of tips students should know, Hamilton advises them to map out what they want to do and unplug from any distraction. Hamilton suggests that students write out their notes and use visuals to study and reinforce what they will see on the exam.
"I am all about the visual organization. I need to physically draw it out and then have it as a reference to keep going back to, because no matter who you are you can’t keep track of it all," Hamilton said. "I use a large white board as well as a calendar white board all semester especially as all the final projects, papers, and tests start getting assigned."
Additionally, Hamilton cautions against the use of phones, specifically social media.
"They can be super distracting in so many ways from social media and games to even FOMO or insecurities that come from that," Hamilton said. "A lot of times you don’t even realize how much time has gone by and, when you’re on a tight deadline or dealing with a packed schedule, that hour on social media...could have been used for something wiser. You work hard all semester long, [so] you can miss out on a few digital moments. Your successful future is more important."
Daryll Henson, academic specialist for Tutoring and Learning Support Services, wants students to be aware of the courses offered such as mathematics, chemistry, biology, psychology, accounting, business, computer science and many more.
"Our tutors are current Kean students who have previously taken the courses they tutor and have excelled in the subject," Henson said. "We also provide workshops throughout the semester that students can attend for not only preparing for finals, but also other tests students may have during the duration of the course. Our department is also closely tied to the Tutor’s Club, which often holds events and meetings regarding study methods, study habits and exam preparation."
Through his time working at the Tutoring and Learning Support Services, Henson has seen students improve and offer positive feedback for their tutors.
"Students often comment on how they feel more confident taking an exam, or that the tutor has helped them better understand the topic they were very confused about. In addition, many students have also mentioned how successful their exam turned out," Henson said.
If one wants to have rewarding final exam scores, Henson advises the following:
- Attend professor office hours
- Attend regular tutoring sessions
- Reach out to fellow classmates by forming group study sessions and creating group tutoring sessions
- Organize all class notes, look over PowerPoints and handouts professors give
- Rewrite explanations on topics in your own words because it helps with retention
Utilizing these resources and tips will hopefully produce better results and make exam week go smoothly!