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Students prepare for #UNGremotelife finals week

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Paul Shorter, a senior from Lawrenceville, Georgia, pursuing a degree in psychology, has taken online proctored exams before and expects this semester's exams to be similar.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, University of North Georgia (UNG) students are preparing to take final exams completely online, a first for much of the student population.

Dr. Chaudron Gille, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, suggests that sticking to one's regular study routine will be helpful.

"The online environment for test taking may be new to you, but I encourage you to think about the study habits and test preparation strategies that have worked for you in the past, and see how you can adapt those to your new setting," she said. "I know that this has been a challenging semester for everyone, but I believe in your ability to adapt and to finish strong."

Gille has a number of suggestions for students to start preparing for finals now:

  • Set exam reminders in your phone or calendar. Know in advance what your technology needs will be for each exam.
  • Make a schedule to spread out your studying and preparation over several days to make it more manageable. Build in time to review and to reach out to tutors, classmates or professors with questions.
  • If you typically use flash cards or outline chapters and then review those notes, begin doing that early.
  • If you like to study in groups, reach out to classmates online.
  • If you normally go to the library for undisturbed quiet, try to find a quiet place and put up a "Do not disturb" sign. 

Paul Shorter, a senior from Lawrenceville, Georgia, pursuing a degree in psychology, has taken online proctored exams before and expects this semester's exams to be similar.

"I'm doing the best I can to prepare," Shorter said. "Some of my professors have recorded their lectures, and I'm going to look at those and my notes from earlier in the semester. I'm relying heavily on flash cards like any other exam as well."

Students still can receive assistance from Tutoring Services, the writing center or math lab. Those programs are accessible by going to the Tutoring Services webpage and scrolling to the "Accessing Online Tutoring" heading. Most subject tutoring is run in Microsoft Teams.

James W.H. Howard, assistant director of Tutoring Services, said students can use tutors as a sounding board while studying.

"If you're studying for a math exam, keep Teams open," he said. "If you encounter a challenging problem, pop in Teams to ask a tutor for help, talk through the problem, and then get back to studying. Teams grants students almost immediate interaction with a tutor who can help."

Students who need help writing can upload a draft through the virtual platform WC Online and receive critiques or can make appointments for one-on-one time.

"Talking through ideas early in a draft may help students make the big revisions they need to succeed in an assignment," Howard said. "Even feedback a day or two before can help address issues like appealing to your audience or writing more effective sentences."

Joy Bolt, dean of libraries, says library faculty and staff are accessible via online chat and email.

"Since moving online and the physical spaces closed or with limited hours, the libraries have been offering remote research assistance," she said. "We know that research questions don't always fit neatly into a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. block, so we are trying to provide coverage that gives students support when they need it."

Through the end of finals week, library faculty and staff will work extended hours to answer questions: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, and 2-6 p.m. Sunday.

As students begin to take finals remotely, a few additional tips for success:

  • Stay in constant contact with instructors. Although most faculty members will use eLearning@UNG (D2L) to administer tests, some may choose a different avenue.
  • Stay connected with others. If you're having trouble understanding a certain concept, have a virtual study session with friends.
  • Drink plenty of water and be sure to get enough sleep.

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