Keeping your mind sharp over Thanksgiving


Now that November has finally begun, we can start thinking about Thanksgiving break. While that class-free week might be closing in, so are the exams that follow.

With turkey bogging us down and our family keeping us pleasantly distracted, how can we enjoy our holiday without being worried about exams looming over our shoulders? Though procrastination might seem like the best option right now, the best way to stay in front of your material and workload is to prepare yourself while you can.

Here are five ways to keep your mind sharp over Thanksgiving break.

A library study station, photo courtesy of Molly Godat.

1. Talk to your professors
No one knows what to expect from your upcoming exam other than your professors. You can speak to professors about future assignments, your current grade and how to begin preparing for your upcoming exams. You can reach all professors via email and schedule a meeting during their office hours.

2. Know your schedule
Even though you’re probably fantasizing all the sleep you’re going to get over break, it’s important to keep academic dates in mind. Thanksgiving break ends on November 27 and courses end on December 8, giving us only one week of preparation before our exams begin. Adding important assignments to your calendar, as well as the occasional study reminder will help you acknowledge the work coming up while you relax over break, even if it doesn’t compel you to act on it.

3. Redo what needs to be redone
While those five-point quizzes didn’t seem important at the beginning of the semester, now every point counts. With more important assignments surfacing, keeping up with quizzes and rereading your past discussion boards will help prepare you for your upcoming exams. “Asking professors for partial credit after taking missed quizzes and redoing discussion boards can be helpful,” said Kris Nilsson, a second-year actuarial science major. “The worst they can say is no, and it’s a great way to relearn material and earn some points back.”

4. If there’s something assigned, do it
Since you’ve already written all of the important upcoming dates on your calendar, you know exactly when all of your papers and tests are due. Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to get a jump-start on those assignments before they begin to pile up and overwhelm you. Have an essay due the week we get back to school? Outline it over break. Outlining is an easy way to sort your ideas and make writing the paper quicker when the time comes.

5. Find help where you need it 
There are resources all over campus to help you through your exams, so take advantage of them before you go home for break. Nurse Pam can help you if you’re sick, and there are counselors on campus if you need someone to talk to. When it comes to studying, classmates will often be your best allies because they are learning the same material as you. If you find yourself needing more in-depth help with your studies, set up a meeting with a tutor in the Division for Student Success. Meghan Diaraghi, third-year English major and current writing tutor, said, “The peer tutors are more than happy to help with any questions you might have, so don’t hesitate to ask!”

Learn more about tutoring services and fill out peer tutor applications.


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