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2012 Archives

Tips for final exams and a successful, healthy and safe holiday season

Study Tips

student studying

From the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center:

  1. Create some sort of daily schedule! You'll need that little bit of structure to get yourself started for the day. And begin to study EARLY in the day; temptations to avoid studying are strong now. Talk yourself into studying before you do errands, laundry, phone calls, e-mail, etc.
  2. Double-check supplies, such as is there new ink in your printer, where is your calculator, do you have snacks and healthy drinks available?
  3. Read text assignments quickly, underlining or highlighting after each paragraph or page.
  4. As you prepare for each course, consider what you expect to see on the exam. What has the professor emphasized? Will it be like earlier tests? Will it be a full three hours long?
  5. WHERE you study is as important as how much! To do your best, use the library. In the daytime, it’s quiet and you’re not tired. Evenings are better used as break time. 
  6. Review notes, textbook underlining, and returned tests. To remember, do MORE than read: recite aloud; write summaries; make lists, charts, maps, or flash cards; tape notes and listen; discuss ideas with a study group or tutor. Make up test questions or problems, then practice answering them.
  7. More than one final on the same day? Allocate time carefully so you can study for one without worrying about the other. Decide if they deserve equal time or if one needs more; set up a schedule. You may study last for the first final, so it is fresh in your mind. Then, after the first, review for the second.
  8. Schedule in one relaxing thing each day-coffee with a friend, watch your favorite show, go to the gym, window shop in Snider Plaza. Just clear your mind from studies for a little while and return refreshed.
  9. Ask your professors now about any change in office hours, after the last day of classes.  Often students assume they can go see a professor during finals week with a question, but faculty members may not plan to be on campus until they administer their final to the class.
  10. Sleepy? Divide reading into 15 to 30 minute chunks; exercise or shower to wake up.
  11. Don’t overdo caffeine to stay awake, or you won’t be able to sleep when you need to. Exercise and cold showers are preferable.
  12. Try to stick to a similar sleep schedule as the regular semester. The change in the daily schedule throws students off and they tend to sleep in, stay up too late, and get less done than they planned because they are out of a productive routine.

December 4, 2012

By Lori White
SMU Vice President for Student Affairs

The holiday season brings with it a combination of special events and sources of stress – exams, final papers and other projects. SMU's goal is for students to have a productive and enjoyable experience as they approach the end of the semester.

Seek academic support.

The Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center provides tutoring and workshops; 214-768-3648.

Make time for exercise.

Regular workouts at the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports can keep you fit and help relieve stress while preparing for exams.

Care for your health.

Eat regularly and try to avoid those all-nighters during finals week. If you start feeling under the weather or would like to talk with someone one-on-one to help with stress, contact these resources:

  • The Health Center provides health care and education; 214-768-2141.
  • SMU Counseling and Psychiatric Services provide confidential assistance; 214-768-2277 (an emergency contact is provided at all hours).
  • The Chaplain’s Office offers confidential pastoral counseling; 214-768-4502.

Develop healthy relationships.

Communicate your expectations and limitations regarding physical contact. Understand that no means no, and also that sexual assault is a crime and violation of University policy.

  • If you are a victim of a sexual assault, seek medical help and contact police as soon as it is safe to do so. Learn more about how to obtain help and report an assault at
  • For confidential assistance, call SMU’s Office of Psychological Services for Women and Gender Issues; 214-768-4795 (an emergency contact is provided at all hours).

Be responsible with alcohol.

Frequently consuming alcohol or consuming large quantities of alcohol in a short time will not only interfere with your studies, but also can put your health and safety at risk.

  • For help with alcohol or drug abuse problems – or if you know someone who needs help – contact the SMUCenter for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention; 214-768-4021.
  • Please do not hesitate to call for help if you or a friend are in need of medical attention because of drinking or drug use. Refresh your knowledge of the SMU Call for Help Program

Be alert and aware of your surroundings.

During this time of year, many students are out late at the library, getting coffee, socializing with friends or going for a run around campus. Avoid jogging or walking alone, especially after dark. Make sure others know where you are. Carry a whistle or noisemaker.

Call for a security escort after dark.

  • Giddy-Upoffers free rides on campus from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily; 214-768-1111.
  • SMU Police provide campus rides when Giddy-Up is not available; 214-768-3333.
  • SMU Ridesprovide free one-way emergency nonstop service to campus from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday with an SMU ID; 214-768-7433.

Take self-defense classes.

SMU’s Sexual Harassment Assault and Rape Prevention (SHARP) program helps defend against physical attacks and sexual assault; 214-768-2607.

Know how to reach SMU Police.

  • Call 911 from a campus phone.
  • Call 214-768-3333 from a mobile phone on and off campus.
  • Pick up a blue-light phone on campus.
  • Note: Calling 911 from a cell phone on campus or from an off-campus phone will connect you with area police but not SMU Police.

If you see something, say something.

Report suspicious people or activities, such as a person you don’t recognize loitering in a parking lot or following students into a residence hall. Call SMU Police, or report anonymously at 214-SMU-2TIP.

Learn more at SMU’s Live Responsibly website:

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