Friday, October 5, 2012

Don't Worry, You've Got This!

We conclude the week with a few more tips for the best test-taking possible.

  • Develop a quick time management plan. You don’t want to spend all your time on one problem or question and lose the opportunity to answer others.
  • Don’t get stuck on questions you are unsure of; move on and come back to them later.
  • Answer a few of the easier questions first to build confidence, then move on to more difficult questions.
  • Don’t pay attention to what other students in the class are doing or how they seem to be handling the test. Just focus on what you are doing.
  • When you are done, proofread the test and double check your answers.
  • When you turn in the test and leave the room, forget about the test for a while. You’ll get it back soon enough and in the meantime, you can’t change things! Go for a walk or watch an episode of your favorite show and relax for a little while before starting another assignment. The short break will help you clear your mind and make you more focused.
  • Unhappy with the results? Use those feelings to develop a better plan for the next test.

For now, take a deep breath. You’ve got this!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Midterms. Be Strategic

This week we’ve been talking about midterms, test anxiety, and test taking. During the test, there are numerous strategies that can help you to do your best work. We cover some today and some tomorrow.

  • Arrive at your classroom as early as possible. Pick out a seat that feels comfortable.
  • Don’t talk with other students about the test. Do you remember those fellow students who would freak you out in high school when they came in stressing out about a certain fact or concept that might be on the test?
  • Before the test begins, take several deep breaths.
  • When you have the test in hand, read through it carefully to make sure that you understand all of the questions and directions. If in doubt, now is the time to ask. Your professor may or may not be in the room throughout the test.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sleep, Focus, Move, & Eat

Sleep the night before the test – This sounds like a “no-brainer,” but if you pull an all-nighter before the test and then try to stay awake by chugging massive caffeine (can you say Double Shot Vente Mocha or Extra Large Red Bull?), you absolutely won’t be at your best when you are taking the test. Good test taking is about focus and it’s hard to focus when you’ve got the caffeine jitters.

Focus – And speaking of focus…. You may feel scattered or overwhelmed, but while you are studying work as hard as possible to focus on class material and required readings. Try to focus on one concept at a time and then on how those concepts are connected. Organize your studying and your notes in whatever way works best for you. Make a list of key facts or concepts that have been stressed in class. Do you understand them? If not, what can you do to increase your understanding? Think about the types of questions your professor might be likely to ask, but don’t prepare solely for those questions. If you’re having trouble organizing all of the information, think about making an appointment at the Learning Assistance Center ( to get help with this skill.

Exercise and eat well – You may be wondering why exercise and eating well are included in a message about test taking. Well, to be at your best on the day of the test, you want to make sure that you are taking good care of yourself. And by the way, exercise reduces stress and stimulates your mind.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Your study habits!

If you haven’t evaluated your study habits recently, you may want to consider the following:

  • Where do you study? Is it quiet and interruption free?
  • Is your study area comfortable? Is it too comfortable that you keep falling asleep?
  • Do you review your notes on a regular basis to make sure that you understand class materials?
  • Do you create study aids for yourself?
  • Do you attend all classes? (It’s a lot harder to prepare for a major test if you have missed important material in class).
  • Are your study partners as serious about the class and their work as you are?
  • Would you be better off studying by yourself?
Depending on your answers above, you may need to switch some things up in order
to maximize your study time and effort.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Midterms, Test Anxiety, and Test Taking, Oh My!


Hopefully your first semester at Wake Forest has been going along pretty smoothly. You’re enjoying your classes and keeping up with your studies. Maybe you’ve had a few tests or papers due. But during the next few weeks many of your professors will be giving midterms, those tests that really provide one of the first “markers” that show you how you are progressing! Some students breeze
through midterms, while others of you may be stressing out. All week long we’ll be sharing ways to cope during midterms and other stressful exams. Remember though, even if you do experience test anxiety, it’s not all bad. Anxiety can provide powerful motivation to succeed.

Study carefully for the test – Yes, this should be obvious, but that isn’t always the case. Your approach to studying in college may not be the same as it was in high school, as college tests often cover much more material and count for a large portion of your final grade. Don’t wait to study for your test until the night before; chances are that won’t be enough time. Outline how much and when you will study before your test then follow your plan. Make sure that you allow yourself enough time. If this is the first major test in the class, you may want to talk with the professor about his or her expectations. Some professors will give you fairly detailed instructions regarding what to study for the test, while others may cover test content more generally. Make sure you know if your professor encourages study groups or prefers students to study alone. If your professor or T.A. offers optional review sessions, go! Many times these sessions will allow you a better understanding of the content and expectations of the test.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tips for Staying Healthy

Eat healthy foods – Of course, you’ll have a great time making late night Cook-
Out runs for milkshakes and greasy (but delicious) burgers, or enjoying a pizza with
friends while studying. That’s part of college life! It’s okay to indulge once in a while, but
try to eat healthy foods as often as possible. If you can’t make it to breakfast in the Fresh
Food Company or the Benson Food Court, put some yogurt in your frig or grab a granola
bar. Add fruits and veggies to lunch or dinner whenever you can. And remember – there
are a lot of empty calories in alcohol (the term beer gut didn’t come from nowhere).

And speaking about alcohol, if you choose to drink, do so very carefully – Let’s face it.
While the national drinking age is 21, we know that some of you will choose to drink
illegally. Please be careful. We’ve seen too many students drink more than they ever have
before during their first year of college. Sometimes the consequences can be fatal or life-
threatening. Sometimes they are just reputation-damaging. If you do drink, consume in
moderation. Drinking too much, too fast is never a good idea. Never put a drink down and
never drink from a “punchbowl” at a party. You have no idea what is in the “mix.” By the
way, do you know that 25% of Wake Forest students don’t drink? Don’t let other students
tell you that “everyone drinks” because it’s simply not true.

Exercise regularly – There are lots of way to get your exercise at Wake Forest.
You can work out at the Miller Center. Try to find some times that are less busy so that
you can spend time on the machines that work best for you. Take one of the many classes
offered there – from yoga to spinning. Participate on one of hundreds of intramural teams
or join a club sports team for even more competition. Participate in trips sponsored by
Outdoor Pursuits. Take walks around the campus with friends or go jogging. Play it safe
while exercising, particularly at night, and pay careful attention to your surroundings.

Get plenty of sleep – We know! Your schedule is really busy including classes, actively
studying, building new friendships, clubs and organizations, and personal time. But
remember, without enough sleep, everything else suffers. Use your time wisely in order to
get everything done.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Health & Wellness During Your College Years

 Have you been feeling healthy since you arrived at Wake Forest? You may be thinking – “I haven’t had a cold, headache, or any other health issue since I’ve been here.” That’s great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have been taking care of yourself or that you are completely healthy. Physical wellness is only one dimension of healthy living or personal wellbeing; others are social, spiritual, environmental and occupational, emotional, and intellectual. It’s also easy to fall into some bad health habits in college like surviving on too little sleep, not eating on a regular schedule, or neglecting exercise or personal time. Did you know, for example, that most American teenagers (95%) get less than 8 hours of sleep per night? Scientists have learned that sleep is critical. “The
surprise is …how much it matters, demonstrably, not just to academic performance and emotional stability, but to phenomena that [they] assumed to be entirely unrelated, such as the international obesity epidemic and the rise of ADHD.”

Sure, you’ll probably have some colds, flu or other illnesses during the next four years. But there are plenty of things that you can do to maintain great health and balance at college. This week we’ll share a few suggestions with you. We challenge you to take a few minutes to create a personal healthy living plan for the next four years. If you follow your plan, you will be primed for success!