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Finals are coming: Here’s how to prepare

Now that Thanksgiving Break has ended, it seems only one thing (besides winter break) is on the minds of Michigan Tech students: exams. Final exams often times have huge effects on the final grade in a class, so it’s imperative that students put their best foot forward when preparing for finals week. In preparation for finals week, I compiled this list to offer some ideas on studying to ensure you are well equipped to deal with the upcoming maelstrom.

Perhaps one of the best ways to learn something in a subject you are struggling in is making an appointment at one of Michigan Tech’s many learning centers. The university offers learning centers in subjects like math, physics and chemistry, while also offering centers tailored to almost every single engineering major offered at Tech. Learning a topic ahead of time, rather than cramming to understand it the night before an exam, is a much better way to tackle an upcoming exam, but this is easier said than done.

The learning centers provide a place where students can find a little extra help outside of the classroom to help them understand specific material more clearly on their own time. For more information, and to see the complete list of learning centers, check out this link:

Along with learning centers, the university also offers academic success coaches through the Wahtera Center who can help students manage their time wisely and give helpful study tips. Walk-ins are welcome, but it may be best to make an appointment to ensure someone will be available to help you. You can make an appointment by emailing To learn more about the academic success coaches and to see what else the Wahtera Center has to offer, visit:

Now you’ve got the tools and understand the material, and the only thing you have left to do is to study it. When studying, it’s best to put yourself in an environment that is conducive to learning. The campus offers a wide range of places for you to study, like the library or any of the lounges throughout many of the academic buildings.

Your room can also be a great place to study, whether you live on or off campus. If you choose to study at home, it may be best to study at a desk instead of your bed or a comfy chair. Otherwise, you might be tempted to fall asleep, and unfortunately, no one has yet to master the art of learning while sleeping! But don’t be afraid to leave the room and go someplace else if you just can’t seem to focus — this can especially be a problem when trying to study in a busy dorm room.

Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself while prepping for an exam! You might think that all your time and energy need to go into studying, but don’t forget to take time to eat, sleep, and stay hydrated so you are well-rested and physically prepared for an exam. Snacks can be a lifesaver while studying, but try to pick things that don’t get your hands dirty (like Cheetos) so that you don’t have to choose between eating and studying. Taking breaks is key in studying self care; in fact, you are more likely to remember things better and get through more material if you take regular short breaks to stretch or walk around. Just be sure that you don’t fall into the online rabbit hole with a deadline waiting in front of you.

Another large distraction that can take up your valuable study time is technology. While things like computers can often be a great study tool, other forms of technology can often be distracting. I’m sure most of us, myself included, often find ourselves picking up our phones to scroll through social media “just for a second” and then find ourselves still there a half hour later (or more). Putting your phone face down, placing it away from you, or even turning it off completely can make sure it doesn’t distract you. If that’s still too much temptation, you might consider plugging your phone in the wall to charge and then leaving the room to study somewhere else.

Having friends with common classes can always be a great idea for studying! Creating a study group with friends in your same class can help you learn the material you might not understand, but a friend does, and vice versa. It can be beneficial for everyone involved, and it is more fun than studying alone. Friends also help make studying less of a chore while still getting the work done. Meeting on campus, off campus or just making a group chat can help you study just that much more. The group chat is really ideal for double checking answers to see if you’ve done the work right or making sure that you know when homework is due.

Everyone has a unique studying style, and it’s important to know what works for you and what doesn’t. As with everything, the first step to getting something done is to start it. Best of luck to everyone on their upcoming exams and happy studying!

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