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From the College of Natural Sciences
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First Exams

First Exams

Dear Students,

It’s the time of the semester for the first round of exams.  For many of you this has become routine.  Others are facing your first college exams.  I hope that you see exams as a challenge and an opportunity rather than a hurdle.  Faculty give exams to assess how students are learning.  Learning is why you’re here, after all.

When you approach learning not as something that “just happens” but as a skill you are developing, you can be more systematic.  Try different strategies.  Work in a group.  Work on your own.  Work a little each day.  Alternate subjects.  Review questions.  Make your own questions.  There are many different approaches to learning.  They won’t all work for everyone.  They won’t all work for each class.

But there are certain things that will hold true. 

• Make a plan – Keep strategies that work for you and change others that are less helpful.  Study smarter not harder.

• Be Active - We shouldn’t call it “studying;” we should call it “practice.” If you get help from a friend, classmate, tutor, roommate, etc… don’t sit and nod your head as they explain something.  You explain the concept to them.  Say the words out loud.  Make sure you understand them.  Don’t review your notes.  Start with a blank page and write down what you remember.  Don’t look at the homework key.  Sit down and invent new problems that you can try to solve.  Test your own knowledge. Be active in your learning.

•  Be Honest With Yourself - Don’t rationalize when you have holes in your understanding.  Don’t look for excuses for why you haven’t mastered a topic. In the end, all that matters is learning what you need to know.  Get to work.  You can do it. When you excel, continue to challenge yourself. When you hit bumps in the road, examine what you have been doing (or not doing) and adopt new learning strategies.  You are not in this alone.  Go to office hours and talk to faculty.  Find a study group and meet with peers.  Ask your CNS 101 mentor to learn from an upperclassman.  There are many ways to get help, but you are the one who needs to seek them out. Take responsibility for your learning.

I wish you all success on this first round of exams  

- Dr. Vanden Bout

P.S. The weekly newsletter link is at the bottom (as it will be each week).

P.P.S. There have been requests for some bad science jokes.  While I don’t think I have the stamina that Dr. Kopp had for the bad puns, here we go. What is H­2­­O4?  Swimming, bathing, drinking, etc…

P.P.P.S.  I’m still looking for more Twitter followers @StudentDeanCNS

Download the CNS Student Newsletter

College Welcomes Ten New Faculty


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Saturday, 04 February 2023

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