Published: Nov. 10, 2021 By ,
student nervously biting a pencil

It’s the end of the semester and as finals get closer, this can be a time when stress increases for both students and faculty. As you prepare for finals and summative assessments, take time to find stress reducers that work for you and perhaps share some ideas with your students to help reduce their anxiety too.

Practices for faculty:

  • Check in. Ask students what material, topics, or assignments they found unclear in the semester. Then, dedicate time in class to review and reinforce this specific material.
  • Practice. If you assess students using tests, review sample questions and consider giving a practice test. This helps students, and you, identify gaps, adding clarity to what is expected for the actual test. (Adesope OO, Trevisan DA, Sundararajan N. Rethinking the Use of Tests: A Meta-Analysis of Practice Testing. Review of Educational Research. 2017;87(3):659-701.)
  • Reflect. Reflective moments can give you valuable feedback and let students see how they have grown throughout the class. Whether it is extra credit or optional, try giving a survey or a quiz on Canvas where students can type a multi-sentence response. The resulting data can inform your teaching and also allows you to reach out to a student if they are struggling with the material
  • Share. Feel free to share your study ideas for students, encourage them form small groups to study together, and share our student recommendations highlighted in these short videos on Metacognition

Metacognition or “thinking about thinking” is a critical skill that can be developed in the classroom to help reduce student anxiety and increase student success! The ASSETT Innovation Incubator Metacognition & Wellbeing team focuses on simple tactics for cultivating student metacognition that you can share with your students and use right now in your course. In a podcast interview with team members Becca Ciancanelli, the Inclusive Pedagogy Lead for the Center for Teaching & Learning, and Shane Oshetski, the Humanities and Social Science Coordinator for the Student Academic Success Center,  along with recently graduated students Eva Kent and Sarah Jane Alvarado, learn more about how metacognition practices can support your students. 

Top practices from the podcast to share with your students include:

  • Write, write, write. If possible, pull out a pen and paper (rather than a digital device), and write about your learning process — whether while studying for an exam or working on a paper. Write before you start the process, and after, to deepen your understanding of which of your tactics work well for you and which of them don’t.
  • Use office hours. Visit with your instructor with your writing reflections in hand. Use these reflections as talking points to discuss the best methods for preparing for class and assessments. Every course requires a different approach. So, be prepared to be flexible with your tactics for studying, researching, and writing.
  • Paraphrase readings. Don’t just read. Read and write. For example, after reading a book chapter or a major concept, pause. Then, in writing, summarize what you just read about in your own words. This practice can deepen your understanding of the content and enrich your contributions to group conversations.
  • Connect with an accountability partner. An accountability partner can be a fellow student in your course or discipline, a TA, or a tutor. Whomever it is for you, make an agreement with them to stay on track with your coursework. Set a regular time to meet to review course material and/or to prepare for quizzes and exams. A key to this tactic is prepping for those meetings by studying the material in advance and then reinforcing knowledge with your accountability partner.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

What are your favorite tips for reducing stress at the end of the semester, either for you or your students? Let us know by leaving a comment in this Google form and your name will be entered into a drawing for an ASSETT Innovation Incubator coffee mug!