Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Study period can raise grades, profs. say

As finals week approaches at Boston University, a number of students said they use the time between the last day of classes and the start of final exams for purposes other than studying.

“Study period is a time not only for study, but also to calm down after final papers and projects,” said Trisha Serquina, a College of Engineering sophomore. “It gives people a few days to clear their minds and focus on upcoming final exams.”

However, Serquina said she does think study period can increase students’ performance on final exams.

“For me personally, if I have a lot going on at once, I freak out and I do it all at the last minute,” she said. “But with study period, there is nothing to do but study. I don’t have any problem sets or papers. So study period helps me focus on what I have to do in order to be successful.”

During study period, Serquina said she takes advantage of Mugar Memorial Library’s 24-hour services.

“A bunch of friends and I often stake out a corner in Mugar,” she said. “Whenever one of us wants to go in, as it does get crowded, we save seats early. We also bring pillows and blankets because we spend a lot of time there. A lot of us are night owls anyway, so if we’re going to be up that late, Mugar is a good environment to be in.”

There is a noticeable increase in the number of students usimg Mugar to study for finals, said Tom Casserly, director of undergraduate librarian services.

“Most students are writing papers until the end of classes, so printing is always a popular resource,” Casserly said. “The building itself gets intensively used for student studying. It basically becomes an undergrad studying environment.”

He said the social element affects the number of undergraduates who study for finals at Mugar.

“Study, especially undergrad study, is much more focused on group study now, and this is an older building so it doesn’t always accommodate that well,” Casserly said. “So I’ve noticed that graduate students tend to be a little more solitary when they study. They prefer quieter, more intense study space.”

Judy Lee, a College of Communication junior, said she sometimes goes to Mugar to avoid poor study habits.

“If I study in my room, there’s the bed and everything, so you tend to slack off at times,” Lee said. “At Mugar, everyone else is studying, so positive peer pressure influences you to study harder.”

Although Lee said she has enough time to study for her exams, her friends in different schools might benefit from a longer study period.

“When I see my friends in other schools, I feel that their exams are so close to each other,” she said. “They often get stressed out a lot. But some people also have assignments and projects until the last day of school, like me. So maybe study period could be longer.”

However, a longer study period might make students unmotivated, said Rama Fava, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

“I wish study period this semester could be longer just so we’d have time to sleep and recover a little before going into the exams, but I also don’t want vacation time to be reduced,” Fava said.

John Verret, an advertising professor, said if students are mature, the length of study period should not matter.

“It very much depends on the student,” Verret said. “The study period is just a chance to take a deep breath and review all the things the professor has told you to review.”

Overall, study period is not that long, said Peter Gacs, a computer sciences professor.

“Of course, there is more than one exam a student has to pass,” Gacs said. “I imagine that there might even be some projects that might be due, too.”

Whereas students might look forward to study period as a time to relax and prepare for exams, study period is not as important to professors said Alisdair McKay, an economics professor.

During study period, McKay said he offers office hours to meet with students.

“I might also prepare the exam, tie up administrative work, or spend time on other things like research,” he said. “But most faculty are on campus during breaks anyway, so it’s not really a special time for us.”

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