Preparing for an Unusual Finals Week

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Exam week background, with various study and educted related items, such as a highlighted reader with standard (lorum ipsum) text, a cup of coffee, electronic tablets, music player and ear plugs, and a calendar with the exam date marked

Katherine Morris, FCRH ’22, is double majoring in digital technologies and emerging media, and mathematics. She is the current communications intern for Fordham IT.

Usually, my finals week at college looks like this: Studying late at night with my roommates; microwaving multiple servings of mac and cheese; visiting professors during their office hours; and making late-night bagel runs to Best Deli. 

This semester, however, studying for finals looks a lot different. Away from my peers and professors, studying at home has turned out to be much more challenging. In order to finish out my semester strong, I had to get crafty and find ways to use digital resources.  

When I’m on campus, I like to visit my professors in person to clear up any difficulties I’m having with the course material. This semester, I can’t visit my professors in person, but I can use technology to reach out. For specific questions, I email my professors and they usually reply quickly. For larger concerns, or when I have broader content to review, I go to their virtual office hours, held via Zoom or Blackboard. Even though setting up time to talk may not be as convenient as dropping by their office without an appointment, it is still as important as ever to talk to my professors so I can clear up any content concerns.

Studying with my peers in a group motivates me when I’d rather just hang out on Eddie’s Parade or, these days, watch TV. We can’t gather in my dorm room with a Pugsley’s pizza this semester, but virtual study groups have allowed me to continue meaningful group review sessions. I find that discussing course content with others leads to better understanding of the testing material. To prepare for our multivariable calculus test, for example, my classmates and I used Zoom to study together. It was nice to see my friends and, even better, thanks to their help, I finally understand Stokes Theorem

Many of my professors have adapted their final exams for remote learning by making them open note, take home, or long essays. Though the format is different, my go-to digital tools for on-campus classes have proven equally as important for remote learning. Google drive and Microsoft Office, for example, are convenient for writing essays and making study guides for open-note tests. When it comes to final essay assignments, Grammarly is a fantastic virtual tool that helps students edit their writing and catch mistakes. Even better, Fordham IT provides students with these invaluable tools for free! 

Thanks to these technology resources, I have been able to make the best of an unexpected situation and feel confident about my preparation for my final exams.

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