Finals week is fast approaching for the students of Saint Mary’s University, but two SMU professors have offered study tips to help students prepare.
Jeffrey Hefel, professor of business at SMU, suggests that studying in groups is best for complex studying, since it allows students to get other opinions. However, he said that less work might get done this way, as students might talk and become distracted.
Dr. Daniel Bucknam, professor of psychology at SMU agreed: “Working alone, students are able to understand the material better, but in a group, students have the ability to discus concepts and enhance the depth of the subject.”
Hefel said it is better to study for short periods of time, because this makes it easier to remember the material. For example, he said that it is better to study for an hour each night than to study for 10 hours the night before the exam. He also advised taking 10-minute breaks every hour.
Bucknam also said to start studying early and review often rather than cramming the night before an exam. He advised studying one topic for 30-40 minutes and then switching to the next. This method, he said, makes the material more distinctive and less confusing.
Hefel said students should have all of the class materials available, such as handouts, notes and worksheets, and should focus more on the material that they find more challenging.
Hefel also recommended that students create hypothetical exam questions and practice answering them instead of simply reading the material.
Similarly, Bucknam said students should develop examples of questions and practice writing as well as using charts and tables.
Bucknam said the library is, for most students, the best place to study. There are minimal distractions, which gives students maximum focus.