The inescapable midterm season is coming up, but fortunately for students, the University of Maryland has workshops and tutoring services directed toward improving students’ performances on tests and reducing test anxiety.
“Exams: From Beginning to End” took place in the Shoemaker Building, and is one of the many workshops the university offers to enhance students’ exam and study skills. Academic skills counselor Shirley Browner coordinates and runs these workshops, and works one-on-one with students to guide them through their studying process. Browner is one of over 50 counselors available to assist students, not only during exam time, but also throughout the semester.
The Learning Assistance Service is an academic support unit that provides similar services to help students develop personal and academic strategies. This specific workshop’s goal was to help students recognize the need for an exam study plan and to share various strategies in preparing and reviewing for exams.
“Go to class and see your professor,” Browner says.
She explained that brain-based learning is a method in which students focus on repetition. Attending class regularly, along with other repetitive strategies, can help strengthen the brain’s neural pathways, generating more success for students in their studies. Browner also emphasized the need for planning time to study in advance.
When asked the one biggest struggle students face when it comes to studying, Browner responded, “time management.” She currently teaches two online classes and works with 27 students who come to her with their concerns about managing their time and setting aside too little hours for themselves to study. Browner recommends students organize their time with a weekly schedule to keep track of how much time they spend studying for a single class, then adding more study time based on how well the student is doing in the class.
Another problem she finds is the fact that students don't use their resources, such as the ones offered through the counseling center at the Shoemaker Building.
“I have at least 20 hours a week of student support, whether it is through the workshops or individual appointments, and I have a walk-in period on Fridays,” Browner says.
For some students, like animal science pre-vet major Andrea Wilson, this was their first time attending a study workshop.
“I thought it was a good resource; it didn’t take up a lot of time and you were able to get a lot of helpful suggestions,” Wilson says.
At the workshop, Browner asked the students to share some of their study methods and explained how students could improve upon those methods, such as color coding notes and making flashcards, a form of repetition that coincides with brain-based learning.
As the workshop came to an end, Browner reminded students to take full advantage of their resources and stressed-managing study time.
However, at the end of the day, when it comes to exams, “the test is one example of who you are, it is not a representation of how you are, and it is not the end of the world,” Browner says.