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Monday, December 10, 2012
2 Finals guide 2012
Tis week I take my last fnal exams ever. It’s
a little bittersweet. Actually, no, it’s mostly just
sweet. I have looked forward to this day for
four years and one semester. Yes, I am a super
senior. No more late nights writing last minute
papers or cramming for tests.
Tat’s a lie. I never really had too many
late nights. I like sleeping too much. I tried
to pull an all-nighter once just to say I did it,
but by 6 a.m., I was crawling into bed to take
a nap before class. My roommates were always
talking about how they didn’t go to bed the
night before so that they could study or write
a paper. I thought it was a right of passage, or
something that I needed to complete. But I just
I heard that sleep is important for doing well
on tests, though, which must be how I have
made it through college, since studying wasn’t
my strongest point.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that I
made it. And so will you. I’m not saying not
to study, but I am saying make sure you get
Rest assured you will make it through this
week, and you have the Finals Guide to help
you through it.
Inside you will fnd music to help you study
and advice on how to temporarily block your
social media websites as well as puzzles for
those breaks from studying. Good luck on your
fnals, and remember to make room for sleep.
You won’t regret it.
By Victoria Pitcher
Sleep makes all the
difference this week
A KU ID W
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What do you think? How do you
study for fnals?
“I cram all week, about a few
hours for each class.” Jesus Guinto,
a junior from Liberal
“I’m preparing for all my
final papers with all my notes
and materials and some all-
nighters.” Alan Li, a senior
from Beijing, China
“I compile my own notes and
rewrite stuff from my textbooks
in my own words.” Marveen
Paransothy, a junior from Kuala
“I mostly just go over all
my notes and my homework.”
Robert Smith, a freshman from
“I either make notecards or
an outline and then I study from
that.” Kelly Burke, a junior from
Table of Contents
8. Studying on
9. Studying on cAmpuS
finAlS StrESS tEAchErS
muSic plAyliSt for
3 Finals guide 2012
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Finals week is fnally in full swing, which
means less time for social activities and sleep,
and more time in the library under stress.
In order to maximize time, taking breaks
from constant studying is vital to academic
performance, and helps to refuel your mind in
order to attack the information at hand.
According to a “Brainscape” blog by Sruthi
Swami, the central point of a study break is
to rejuvenate the mind, and should consist
of activities that distract the brain from the
Tat way, Swami said, you can come back
to the material renewed and refreshed.
Before studying begins, students should
plan ahead for scheduled breaks from study.
Breaks should be set for short amounts of time
depending on the student and subject matter.
However, it is imperative that students stick
to the time allotted for the break: usually 20 to
30 minutes at a time.
Swami stressed the importance of remem-
bering to eat during study breaks, but warns
against the dangers of junk food.
Taking a break from studying to cook a
meal and sitting down away from work helps
to refresh the mind and body.
“I feel like anymore, my breaks are eating
or looks at apps like iFunny. Usually I’ll walk
away from the books and maybe watch TV
while I eat,” said Jon Simpson, a second-year
law student from Wichita.
Exercise and physical activity ofers stim-
ulation to the brain, making studying more
efective, while also loosening up the body
during a study break.
According to an online article by Nicole
Riccardi in Points Sports Health, exercise
“improves attention, speed of processing and
the ability to perform cognitive tasks.”
Riccardi said the body stimulates the hor-
mone epinephrine during exercise, increasing
awareness and students’ ability to concentrate,
helping to improve study habits and promote
healthy bodies and minds.
“[My friends and I] would try to fnd ways
to exercise and fgured we might as well do it
during a study break. We’d either go outside
and do a set distance or run on the treadmill
for 40 minutes,” said Clif Brazil, a second year
law student from Chanute.
In addition, the Office of Academic
Achievement ofers various ways for students
to prepare themselves for the upcoming exams,
featuring a fnal exam planner, procrastination
prevention tools and general study tips and
test taking advice.
In the University’s Academic Achievement
Top Ten Tips for Better Study Habits, students
should avoid “faking study behavior,” advising
students to take breaks to allow themselves to
daydream if they are having difculties with
In order to help fnish these tasks, students
should prepare prioritized to-do lists and cross
of completed tasks while studying.
For additional information on healthy and
efective study breaks, visit the KU Academic
—Edited by Allison Kohn
Finals guide 2012
Prioritizing, sporadic breaks vital to studying
Brenna eaton, a sophomore from Lawrence,
ties her shoes before going on a run Wednesday
night. eaton likes to workout to relieve stress
and as a study break.
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As finals approach, students will be thinking
more about where to study. There are a thousand
nooks and crannies on campus, but some of the
most popular locations are Watson and Anschutz
libraries, the Kansas Union, the Underground
and group study rooms in dorms.
Dr. Mary Ann Rasnack, director of the
Academic Achievement and Access Center
(AAAC) in the basement of Strong Hall, empha-
sizes the idea that studying is different for each
and every student. She said that while some
students thrive on silent and independent study,
other students enjoy being in locations with many
Above all, each student should do what is best
for him or her.
“It depends on a couple of things, and that,
obviously, is the individual student,” she said.
“Noise is especially distracting. For some people,
it’s the movement. Other people need to know
that they’re not alone.”
One of the most popular study locations is
Anschutz. Travis Ryan, a senior from Overland
Park, appreciates the fact that everyone at
Anschutz is there to study.
“Here, that’s what everyone else is doing,” he
said, “so there’s not too many distractions.”
Junior Rachael Kerz, from Springfield, Ill.,
goes to Anschutz to get away from distractions of
her sorority house and study quietly.
“It’s quiet,” she said. “I can put my headphones
Despite the benefits of studying at Anschutz,
Ryan and Kerz both admitted its drawbacks.
“During finals it gets really busy,” Ryan said, “I
won’t come here because there will be too many
people to even get a spot.”
“It’s hard because when you know people and
you see them, it’s hard not to talk to them and
catch up and say hi and that’s kind of distracting,
so that’s kind of why I go downstairs.”
Anschutz is a great place for students to study
whether they’re looking for a quiet, independent
setting or a group study session.
Another popular study destination among
students is The Underground.
Angela Figgs, a senior from Topeka, appreci-
ates the proximity of both food and socialization
when she’s at the Underground.
“I feel like I’m more likely to bump into my
friends here, and if I want to chat with them, I
don’t feel like I’m disturbing anybody like I do
when I’m at the library.”
Though Figgs enjoys the social aspect of the
Underground, she also sees it as a drawback to be
productive and focus.
While the Underground is far more hectic
than Anschutz, the environment is just what
some students are looking for in a study space.
For students who like to study near the food,
the Kansas Union is a similar option to the
Stephanie Beauchamp, a sophomore from
Wichita, said she appreciates both the atmo-
sphere and the resources available at the Union.
“There’s not a lot of seating, which means it’s
very limited to the amount of people that can
come in,” she said. “There’s much more food
options than at the library.”
Casey Miller, a junior from Hutchinson, sees
the Union similarly. He appreciates the fact that
he can stop by between classes.
“I came here today while I’m in between class-
es,” he said, “and it’s around lunch, so I can just
grab a bite to eat.”
While Beauchamp appreciates the limited
seating, Miller wishes the main level of the Union
had more tables.
“I think they could have more tables down
here for people that need to study because, a lot of
times, when you come in here, you don’t see very
many spots open for people who need to put their
books on a table and write stuff down.”
Beauchamp’s only qualm with the
Union is its tendency to be a high traffic area.
“Sometimes, I’ll catch people coming in and
out, and I’ll stop what I’m doing, and it’ll avert my
peace & quiet
campus offers variety of locations for studying
FinALs guide 2012
see Jump pAGe 9
attention, and I’ll just forget what I’m doing.”
Though the Union can get noisy, it’s the per-
fect place for students who like having plenty of
food and social options at their fingertips while
Watson library provides an atmosphere simi-
lar to that of Anschutz. However, students who
prefer Watson appreciate its lower noise levels.
Kaleb Gilmore, a senior from Hoyt, appreciates
the fact that Watson is less noisy and social than
“I feel like people take it more seriously here.”
Chas Strobel, a senior from Wayzata, Minn.,
agrees. “It’s quieter than Anschutz.”
Gilmore also appreciates Watson’s extra space.
“I get more space,” he said. “I sprawl and get
Though Watson has extended hours during
the week of finals, Gilmore and Stroble both wish
Watson had longer hours all semester.
“I really don’t have any qualms about it other
than if it was twenty-four hours, I’d love it,”
Strobel also wishes he was able to check out a
MacBook charger from Watson.
“You can’t rent Apple chargers,” he said, “so
I always have to go to Anschutz to get a charger
when I forget one at home.”
residence haLL study
Finally, a popular study location among
younger students is the study or conference
room on their residence hall floors. Many stu-
dents appreciate the ease of studying at home, but
according to Rasnack, removing yourself from
your living area can help you focus.
“It’s where you live, and filled with easy dis-
tractions and easy ways to get off task,” she said.
Rasnack’s main tip to studying successfully
was to find an environment where you can study
without distractions, such as your friends or
roommate or anyone else in your residence hall.
“Removing yourself from distractions is the
most important thing,” she said. “Putting yourself
in an environment that is conducive is the next
most important thing.”
There are a thousand places to study on cam-
pus and in Lawrence. Sometimes, it can be tough
for students to find that one place where they can
focus. For help getting organized or finding a
place to study, visit Dr. Rasnack and the staff of
9 FinaLs guide 2012
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After hours spent studying at the library,
nights of no sleep and a few deep breaths, it’s
here, and the only thing standing between you
and winter break is a packet of questions and a
The word “stress” goes hand-
in-hand with finals, and it’s a
feeling that both students and
professors share during this
“I find final exam week to
be as stressful or more stressful
than [students] do,” psychology
professor, David Holmes, said.
“To watch students take an exam
just drains the blood out of me.”
Holmes said he finds himself in the same
position as many other professors with the
added burden of dealing with students’ excep-
tional circumstances, such as getting sick or
having travel arrangements on the day of the
In a Psychology 104 class of almost 1,000
students, the “extenuating circumstances” seem
to be pouring in steadily.
“The only solution I have is to get ready very
early. I’ve been getting ready for finals before
[students] even thought about it,” Holmes
Holmes said he has been preparing for the
final for the past two weeks, and he has “all
of the pieces together.” He
said finals are valuable for
such a large class, Holmes
said he doesn’t have much
of an opportunity to give
a more in-depth exam.
“I think it’s better in
another course where we
can watch and test stu-
dent’s integration of a lot of material. Here I
can’t do that,” he said. “There’s very little I can
measure on integration, that would require
essay exams, and I’m not going to read a thou-
Zachary Dennett, a freshman from Winfield,
doesn’t think that finals are a good test of
“It’s just a competition to see who can mem-
orize the right information the day before a
test,” he said.
Although he isn’t stressing for finals,
Dennett said he recognizes the importance of
performing well on them.
“They will actually matter. If you fail these
tests they have consequences,” he said.
Unlike Holmes, Dennett hasn’t felt the pres-
sure of exams.
“There’s no use being nervous for the inevi-
table,” he said.
Hannah Arredondo, a junior from Parkville,
Mo., said the reliability of final exams lies in
the type of test. Although she doesn’t like them,
Arredondo said she thinks short answer and
essay exams are a better reflection of what stu-
dents have learned, than multiple-choice
“There have been times students who
do not study at all, end up with better scores
than those who do,” she said.
Arredondo believes students have an unfor-
tunate disadvantage when it comes to test anxi-
“I think professors often get nervous because
they want us to do well, but I don’t think they
get nearly as nervous as students do,” she said.
Professors and students dread fnals
Preparation and high expectations are apparent at both ends of the spectrum by end of semester
Finals guide 2012
Graphic by trEy conrad
“To watch students take
an exam just drains the
blood out of me.”
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Student Alumni Association members,
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Many students listen to music while study-
ing, the good news is that music actually helps
with memory retention. A research team from
Stanford University recently discovered that
music helps engage the areas of the brain that
are responsible for attention and memory
retention. The research shows that peak brain
activity in these areas occurs during the short
periods of silence in between music, which is
often heard in classical symphonies.
Sarah Edwards, a freshman from Overland
Park, takes advantage of this.
“I prefer to listen to classical music while
I’m studying rather than other genres because
it is more relaxing for me personally,” she said.
“Songs with words can be too distracting,”
which is an opinion that many students share.
However, according to a physician from
Mayo Clinic, “melodious sounds help encour-
age the release of dopamine in the reward area
of the brain,” simply meaning that music can
have a positive effect on mood. Such sounds
can be heard in indie and folk music through
slow melodies and light instrumentals.
Since simultaneously listening to music
while studying is a form of multi-tasking, it is
often better to listen to music in intervals—in
between reviewing. Music with lyrics will not
only provide a subtle distraction but also keep
Music benefcial for memory retention
These 15 tracks will provide an hour of
solid studying accompanied by sooth-
ing vocals and soft harmonies.
1. “Concrete Wall” by Zee Avi
2. “Those to Come” by The Shins
3. “Talk Show Host” by Radiohead
4. “Wait” by M83
5. “Through It All” by Leftover Cuties
6. “Devil Knows You’re Dead” (EP Ver-
sion) by Delta Spirit
7. “The Boy Done Wrong Again” by
Belle and Sebastian
8. “Piggyback” by The Hudson Branch
9. “If I Had a Boat” by James Vincent
10. “Youth” by Daughter
11. “Between the Bars” by Elliot Smith
12. “Taro” by Alt-J
13. “Winter Song” by The Head and the
14. “Yellow Light” by Of Monsters and Men
15. “Don’t Wanna Go” by the Lumineers tara bryant/Kansan
Sydney Johnson, a junior from Hutchinson, listens to music as she works on homework Wednesday night.
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In a few clicks, websites like Facebook,
Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit and StumbleUpon can
open up and provide entertainment for hours on
end. Te Internet allows for instant communica-
tion and therefore, instant distraction, raising an
important question: can students avoid wasting
precious study time on social websites?
Dr. Mary Ann Rasnak, the Director of KU’s
Academic Achievement and Access Center, said
that social media can be used both positively
and negatively. Browsing Facebook or getting
notifcations for messages and Tweets can suck
time. She emphasizes the importance of fnding
a healthy balance.
“Tere have always been distractions,” Dr.
Rasnak said. “Te trick is balancing the need
for stress relief, and the need for relaxation and
the need to take time out and take a deep breath
and laugh with the preparation that you need to
do to do well on your exams and to be successful
as a student.”
For many, fnding that balance is difcult.
When students like Caitlin Uyenura, a sopho-
more from Osage City, are trying to study, social
media becomes a time-wasting problem.
“It’s such a big distraction,” Uyenura said.
“You think you’ll only spend 10 minutes on it
and then you end up on there for an hour.”
Much of Uyenura’s homework and study
materials are online, which tempts her to browse
Pinterest instead of studying. From spring break
until the end of the spring 2012 semester,
Uyenara deactivated her accounts on Facebook,
Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram in preparation
“I wasn’t distracted, so I could study,” Uyenura
said. “I know that if my account was still up, it’s
just a habit to go over to your computer and click
on Facebook. Since I didn’t have an account, it
forced me to just go straight to studying.”
While Uyenura isn’t sure if she will be able
to avoid abusing social media through sheer
willpower, deleting her accounts again seems
drastic. Social media is a daily mode of com-
munication in her life; her basketball camping
group, for example, uses Facebook to keep in
Plugins may be her solution. Students can
activate plugins for Internet browsers — like
StayFocused for Google Chrome and Leechblock
for Firefox — to program how much time they
want to spend on certain websites in a day. Tey
can also limit browsing to certain times of the
day, or block websites entirely.
Junior Collin Johnson, from Council Grove,
uses a plugin to block Facebook, Twitter and
websites like fmylife.com.
“If I just block the website, then I’m less
tempted to have to get on it,” Johnson said. “I
can study better for longer periods of time with-
out thinking, ‘Oh, I should get on Facebook and
see if I have any notifcations!’ or check out the
All major web browsers ofer compatible
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Finals guide 2012
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Finals guide 2012
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