An ASBMEntor group enjoying Jacks N Joes together!
Ask the ASBMEntors
Your mentors are probably awesome and know everything(!), but sometimes, there are just questions you'd like to ask everyone's opinion about, right? That's why each month, we'll ask ALL the mentors a few of your questions and post the highlights of their answers right here!
1) What are some general tips for studying for a cumulative final?
Sara: It's OK to spend more time on material from the beginning of the semester, since that was further away and may need additional review, but budget your time such that you cover everything before the test. The worst is spending lots of time on the first few chapters and having to cram in the rest -- they almost always emphasize material from the latter half of the semester!
Terrence: Practice problems are the key to success. I found that doing problems over and over helped me on the test by making me more efficient at answering them. For GE finals or finals that aren't math/science, don't cram. Prepare well in advance.
Caroline: Don't study too in detail (ex. rereading the textbook) especially if you don't have a lot of time, but spend more of your time studying more general materials, like review sheets, basic topics, old exams, your notes from lecture, etc. Then if you have extra time and know the general concepts well enough, go back to the details.
Juliet: The best way to study for a cumulative final is to go over old notes and homework problems and redo previous midterms. Studying in groups can be helpful, but pacing yourself and going over everything a few times I find to be the most effective way to study for a cumulative final.
Jasmine: I spend about 4-7 hours reviewing all the material for an exam the day before with a study partner (I don't like studying in big groups because they are not as focused) and going over any practice exams (if applicable).
2) How do you manage your time during stop days?
Jason: I usually concentrate on the upcoming exam, or whichever one I know I have struggled in previously. If I have an exam the next day, that is the one I concentrate on.
Tripti: Your time management should reflect your personal final schedule. Usually, I study for each of the first 2 - 3 exams that are in the first week of finals, during stop days. Leave the weekend to study for the last 2 finals.
Terrence: For math/science, do practice problems each day. For other, do a little reading each day and think about essay prompts while you read.
Scott: Definitely create a rotation so that you study each section a little bit every day. Obviously allocate more time for the final(s) that will be more difficult (Chem, Physics, etc.), but give at least an hour a day for the "easier" finals too. That way, no cramming or all-nighters! Yay!
Juliet: Depending how your finals are spaced out, studying can be spaced out accordingly. If you have multiple exams on one day or on back to back days, studying a bit for each exam each day can be very effective. If your finals are relatively spaced out, studying in the order you are taking the exams may be the best way to go. But make sure to give yourself a little bit of time to take a break and relax so that you don't get overwhelmed and burnt out.
Jasmine: Get into a routine for stop days. For example: get up at around 8:30am. Eat a full breakfast. Settle down and start studying by about 9:30am. Snacking from 11-1pm or a light lunch while studying at around 12:30pm. When you start feeling lethargic (i.e. around 2pm during your mid-afternoon slump) go out and do something active with friends (kick around the soccer ball, friendly game of racquetball, throw around a football--nothing too intense that could get you injured, but something to get your blood pumping).Get back in by about 3pm. Wash your face and study 'till 6:30pm. Eat dinner with friends. Study from 7:30pm-11:30pm, with light snacking if you get hungry at around 10pm. Shower if you need to at 11:30, get to bed by 12pm. REPEAT X 3!!!
3) Do you still have fun during finals week? How and when?
Jason: Yes, I usually take a day, like Saturday, off just to relax and refresh my mind for the grueling week ahead, but then get right back to work on Sunday.
Tripti: Primal scream (in McCarthy Quad) at 10PM!!! Early morning walks are amazing too -- gets you up and running; early start to studying keeps you mentally happy and satisfied all day long! :)
Sara: I always schedule designated fun time, designated study time, and designated chore time (laundry, email, food, etc). It's important to account for all three, and be realistic in setting your goals. If you think it will take three hours to finish your study notes, schedule four, and use the extra hour to relax if you finish early.
Terrence: YEAH. study parties, taking lots of breaks. Study efficiently, not necessarily more.
Caroline: Yes. I always go to Disneyland with friends during the weekend of finals! There's plenty of time before, during, and after stop days to study for finals. As long as I study efficiently and thoroughly during these days, having a day off to go to Disneyland is quite refreshing and fun! It also makes me more energized and motivated to study hard again when I return.
Juliet: Having meals and frozen yogurt with friends during finals is a great way to have fun but also be productive since you have to eat anyways. Also, going to primal scream is a nice, short break but really makes you feel good to hear the band and see a bunch of other people in a more social environment.
4) What do you think were your biggest misconceptions of finals week during first semester freshman year?
Jason: I thought it was going to be much harder than midterms, but it turned out to be pretty much the same.
Tripti: I was worried that finals would be overwhelmingly difficult. But its not difficult; its all about time management. Take each exam one at a time. :)
Sara: STUDYING UNTIL THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING WILL NOT SERVE YOU WELL. GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP BEFORE YOUR EXAM.
Terrence: Finals count a lot. Some of the finals I did exceptionally well on helped me push my grade up when some of the midterms during the year led me to believe that I wouldn't get a good grade in the class. CHEM105 final was definitely a dark horse in boosting my grades.
Scott: First, the stop days are a lot shorter than you think, especially if you plan on sleeping in (ie 11 or later). Second, you sadly don't get to see friends as much during finals week; they're either hidden in Leavey or taking their final. So while studying is important, friendships are important too. Don't be a misanthrope/hermit just because you have to study!
Caroline: That I would need to be studying nonstop the whole two weeks (stop days and finals). There was actually a lot of time to relax and take care of myself as long as I timed and strategized my studying well.
Jasmine: Students underestimate how tired they will be after an exam. Days that you have an exam are not successful study days, don't add these days to your study schedule plan as full days (though still use them as study days!).
ASBME Mentorship Program - General Info!
This year, ASBME is revamping our BigE/Smalls program to make it bigger and better than ever before! We are excited to build this into afull fledged program where upperclassmen and freshmen will be matched up to build a mentoring relationship that will last throughout your time at USC.
We are planning many fun activities specifically for this program, in addition to ASBME's already large selection of academic and social opportunities.
Benefits of this program:
Freshmen will gain an experienced BME upperclassman who will be available to answer questions about topics from registration and study tips to college life in general. You will gain access to an entire network of involved and interesting ASBME members and help connect you more fully to the BME community, Viterbi, and USC in general during your time here!
Mentors who participate through graduation can earn cords or stoles.
Mentorship families with strong participation records will be given priority registration chances for many exciting, space-limited ASBME events like paintballing.
For more information:
Contact email@example.com with any questions or comments
Mentorship Group Events!
Lots of mentoring groups like to do more than just answer questions for each other! They plan really cool events! Did your group meet up and do something fun? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know! Meanwhile, check out some of the cool activities that some groups have enjoyed!
- Potluck! Meet up in a mentor's apartment and enjoy an exciting and varied dinner. Mentees: don't have a kitchen? Bring plates, etc. or head over to Superior and pick up cookies/snacks on the way!
- Jacks and Joes! Head over and get great breakfast at any time of day!
- USC Volleyball Game! Cheer on USC's awesome Volleyball team together!
- Natural History Museum! Learn a lot, have a lot of fun! It's free and you can walk there!