Dear Ally,

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Don’t Skip the Last Class

Dear Ally,

It’s the last week of class for the fall semester for both of us and finals are next week! The finish line is on the horizon!

My colleague recently told me that a student was shocked that they were going to cover new material the last two weeks of the semester. Apparently this student had assumed the last two weeks were going to be review for the final and had booked a flight home to visit family. I couldn’t believe the extreme contrast between the expectations of this student and reality. Did she not look at the schedule in the syllabus? Did our first year orientation not paint a proper picture of what to expect?

So, just in case you didn’t know, in most of your classes, the professor will be using each and every minute of class, right up to very end of the last class to cover all the content that needs to be covered. I know that’s how it usually goes for my chemistry classes. There’s so much material to cover that you cannot spend time going over past exams or reviewing for upcoming ones. If there is a review session, it’s usually outside of class or in the form of extended office hours. I’ve been known to buy pizza to bribe my organic chem students to come to my review sessions. When I tried having a review session the last day of class, barely anyone had any questions because the final was a week away and few had begun studying yet, so it was a total waste of class time. Then there’s the most hated question: What’s on the final? The answer to that is quite literally EVERYTHING! (The alternate answer is: All the questions you missed on the previous exams.)

A lot of students will skip the last class, if they know it’s a review day, which is another reason I don’t do that. A friend of mine in college knew the last day of class would be review, so he skipped. Little did he know that the professor changed the location of the final exam and announced that change during that last class. (Remember this was the mid-90’s and it was not common practice to e-mail class announcements and there was no such thing as an on-line learning management system to which to post announcements.)

It comes time for the final exam and my friend drags himself up the hill to his class and nobody’s there. He’s panicked now thinking maybe it was yesterday or he somehow got the time wrong. Luckily for him he ran into the TA who was coming to place a sign about the room change, but then my friend had to run all the way across campus to the exam.

Don’t let this happen to you! 🙂  Be sure to go to all your classes this week and keep an eye on your e-mail and announcements on-line just in case. Also don’t miss out on review sessions, they really can be invaluable and you might get dinner out of the deal as well.

One last thing…I know all your exams are next Monday, so start studying NOW. For example, if you have a class that covered 12 chapters and the final is cumulative, then, beginning tomorrow, you can study two chapters a day and it won’t seem so overwhelming.  It’s probably hard to believe that this time next week, it will all be over!

Best of luck as you finish the semester,

Aunt Sarah

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1 Comment

  1. […] Don’t Skip the Last Class […]

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