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Finals are creeping up, prepare now

Finals are creeping up, prepare now

As the fall semester is coming to a close, full time students might be overwhelmed by the approaching finals week.

There are ways to ease that anxiety and get some work done; one source for help is the Center of Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The CTL is a place where students can get free tutoring on writing, from brainstorming topics to looking over the first draft. A student just needs to make an appointment with a tutor for a time that fits his or her schedule or attend one of the walk-in sessions.

Unfortunately the time to make appointments may have passed. The newest writing specialist and clinical instructor from the CTL, Sarah Collins, explained.

“We’ve been crazy busy and we didn’t expect to be booked that quickly…As of yesterday [Nov. 29], the earliest appointment available was Dec. 10.”

Collins said that the number of student appointments have raised significantly since last semester (an extra 200 students) because of the higher number of admissions and the doubled requirement from English Composition students.

“The bulk of papers are from ENG 101 and 102,” explained Collins, “because they are required to be up here [CTL] four times a semester. Previously it was only two times per semester. It’s added to how busy we get.”

Collins said the CTL has a waiting list for students; “We do have cancellations, we do have no-shows, so there’s always a chance if it’s a short paper.”

For those unable to schedule an appointment with a tutor, there are several things to do to be prepared. Collins’s first tip for stressed students is to get organized.

Read Syllabi in Advance

“Even before finals week…look at your syllabus. See your due dates. ‘What do I need to do for this class?’” She said mapping out all projects on a planner or a calendar will help students prioritize their finals preparation. Reading each syllabus early will set dates in order, but also reading the descriptions for each final will give them time to brainstorm and research for essays. For exams, it will give students an idea of when and how long they should study for each exam.

Get Away From It All

Collins noted that it can be challenging for dorm students to get away from distractions while studying. “Find a quiet place where you can not be bothered by your friends, the TV, and all of these things. We have a solarium up here [Brookens Library, fourth floor] that have really comfy couches and desk space and tables, so if students are looking for a place to [study], we have a nice area.”

In addition, the Women’s Center [SLB] has a study area in their lounge from 2-10 p.m., Sun.-Wed. until Dec. 19.

“Distractions are so easy when you’re doing something you don’t want to do,” said Collins. “So if you can avoid those distractions as much as possible, that would help.

Get Help From Peers

If a student can’t get a tutor to look over his/her essay, just another pair of eyes can help according to Joey Cruse, a graduate teaching assistant (TA). Cruse is used to helping students with their papers, but as a student himself he also turns to his colleagues at the CTL.

He said, “If you sit there and don’t practice what you preach, then it’s stupid; why not get another pair of eyes on it, especially if you have such talented people around you? You should use your resources if you have them…have someone read your work out loud.”

For exams, Collins added that study groups are ideal if manageable.

If Really Anxious

Cruse has worked with anxious students at the end of semesters. “Making someone comfortable is probably the first thing to do with an anxious student,” he said.

He recommended talking with the professor if there are too many questions and concerns from a student. “Usually if there is an anxiety problem, that’s probably a better place to go to than me…your professor by large is probably the more [qualified] person to get some advice from [if concerns are really high].”

Tutoring Events

If students still want professionals to look over their essays or help brainstorm topics, there will be TA’s in UHB’s second floor lounge on Thursday, 1-7 p.m. Collins warns that students may have to wait before getting assistance, but no appointments are necessary.

Brookens Library will also have a CTL writing tutor available for walk-in students every Tuesday night, 6-8:30 p.m. for the rest of the semester.

CTL: (217) 206-6503, BRK Building, Room 462, ctl@uis.edu.

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