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News Release

Moravian Offers Advice to Students Preparing for Final Exams

10 things Students should do to improve their chances for success

Bethlehem, Pa., December 7, 2010—It’s that season of the year that students everywhere approach with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation: final exams. As students at Moravian College enjoy their last week of classes before exams, the Offices of Academic Affairs and the Office of Learning Services offered students some advice to help them prepare for what lies ahead. Carol Traupman Carr, associate dean for academic affairs at Moravian College, and Laurie Roth, director of learning services at Moravian College offered the following advice to Moravian students that could benefit any student taking final exams:

  1. Be absolutely sure on what date and at what time your final exams begin. 
    (There’s no reason for not knowing or for arriving late. Avoid the added stress by double checking your dates, times, and locations in advance.)
  2. Always eat a meal or decent snack before an exam.
    (Trying to stay focused and energetic when you haven’t provided nutrition to your body almost guarantees you a lower grade.) 
  3. Similarly, make sure your body is sufficiently hydrated. 
    (Nothing works better than just plain water, but anything will do. Dehydration, even at a small level, can affect your ability to think clearly.) 
  4. Do not stay up all night cramming. 
    (The best way to study is with repeated attempts in smaller chunks over several days before the first exam. Cramming usually leads to poor retention and too little sleep, which further impedes your ability to retain information and focus for exams.)
  5. Be at the exam at least 10 minutes prior to start time. 
    (You want to find your seat, get organized with any materials you might be allowed to use, and be ready to start at the beginning. Showing up at 8:30 for an 8:00 exam already puts you behind the others in class, and the instructor is not required to give you additional time.) 
  6. If you are entitled to accommodations for your exam, work this out in advance. 
    (If you are entitled to special accommodations such as a distraction-free environment or extended time, do not ask your instructor about that when you walk in.)
  7. In your seat, take a few deep breathes, slowly, in and out. 
    (But don’t hyperventilate. Breathing slowly helps the body relax.) 
  8. Focus on each body section, starting with your feet, and flex your muscles. 
    (Point your toes, flex your ankles, stretch your legs, your arms, shoulders, rotate your head and neck. Get the blood flowing to help you relax and increase concentration). 
  9. Turn off your cell phone. Keep it tucked away, in a backpack or jacket, or don’t bring it at all to the exam. 
    (The ringing or vibrating will distract you and your classmates, and is just plain rude in that situation. And, furthermore, if your instructor sees your cell phone out, you could be accused of cheating!)
  10. Look over the entire test quickly before you begin. 
    (Take a mental inventory of the test questions to gauge the scope and time required to complete it as a whole.)

Carol Traupman Carr, Ph.D. is the associate dean for academic affairs at Moravian College. She has served in multiple roles in the academic part of higher education including adjunct instructor, visiting instructor, tenure-track, department chair, academic dean, and advisor.

Laurie Roth M.ED., director of learning services, provides direction and supervision of services and activities related to enhancing and supporting student learning and academic performance; coordinates faculty referral and midterm intervention programs; supervises selection and training of peer tutors; counsels and advises students in their educational planning and decision-making; and provides support services for students with documented learning disabilities and ADHD.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.