Health & Counseling: because it's your health...

The end of the semester brings with it the stress of regurgitating all the information you learned over the past four months. Whether your instructors are administering comprehensive exams covering the entire semester or just a portion, the onslaught of tests can be overwhelming.

What's important to remember is that the recollection of information is largely determined by the way in which you study the material. The following suggestions are recommended for making the best use of your study time and increasing retention of information. They are largely based on research in this area.

Study in small blocks of time. Take 10 minutes between classes to review your notes from the previous and coming classes, filling in gaps. Spending 15 minutes a day to consistently review notes from each class has been proven to significantly increase retention over marathon sessions covering all the material.

When taking notes, leave the margin to the left open to write questions on the class content. After reviewing your notes, quiz

yourself using the questions to the left on a daily basis. This strategy can be used in place of flashcards and is less time consuming than creating all those cards.

Condense and paraphrase your notes in brief form. Write summaries of the information, remembering to relate major concepts to one another.

When reading textbooks, try to paraphrase the material to yourself and grab overall concepts, interrelating them to one another.

If you must memorize course material, especially in the sciences, use mnemonic devices. A simple example would be remembering that the five Great lakes are Erie, Ontario, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, which can be recalled with the acronym "HOMES." Mnemonics may also involve imaginary pictures.Research has indicated that the more bizarre the image, the more retention.

Form study groups and ask each other questions based on your notes and textbooks.

Pay particular attention when review sessions are offered, and especially to how the professor emphasizes certain points, patterns of thinking, or highlights sections during his or her lectures.

Sufficient sleep during the week of exams is crucial. Sleep

loss of even two hours can reduce your efficiency by 25 percent on the day of the exam.

The most important study strategy is repetition and consistent daily review in small chunks, which includes all modes of study (i.e. memorization, mnemonics and review). If you have not used some of these strategies before, start today and use these approaches through the rest of the semester to maximize your chances of academic success.


Question: I've been hearing all over the news that there is going to be an increase in the price of birth control pills on college campuses. I haven't seen a time-line, or any mention on our campus so I don't know if this will affect me. Either way, I am legitimately concerned that I will no longer be able to afford birth control which would be problematic on multiple levels.

Answer: This issue has been a tremendous concern to us as well. As is true of other colleges across the country, we have lost the "special pricing" that allowed us to make prescription contraceptives available to our students at such affordable prices. Our foremost goal is to find an option that allows us to continue offering on-campus access to affordable reproductive health care. There are a number of steps we've already taken to help us develop a plan for the future, including getting student input via a Web-survey conducted earlier this semester and discussing the issue with our Student Health Advisory Committee. Some options we're considering include partnering with Livingston County Department of Health and limiting on-campus birth control pill sales to generics (which would cost more than our current pills but considerably less than those "name brands" will be next fall), with the option of writing prescriptions for pills we don't stock. We will have this sorted out and will have services in place when students return next academic year.

Question: For about a month I have been feeling really tired, even after sleeping for eight or more hours every night. It's like I could fall asleep any time during the day. Also, I've been feeling depressed, having headaches much more often feeling really cold or really hot and a bit constipated. Mentally I've been confused and am having a hard time remembering things, like how to spell words. Do you have any idea what this could be? I'm getting really tired of feeling so miserable and out of it.

Answer: Given the symptoms that you are reporting, it's hard to know if you are experiencing a physical problem which is causing mental health difficulties (i.e., depression and confusion), or whether you might be depressed and experiencing physical symptoms as a result of this.

As a first step, however, your best bet would probably be to obtain a complete physical examination, including blood-work. You can schedule an appointment to do this by calling Health Services at 245-5736. If everything checks out medically, your Health Services clinician may refer you to Counseling Services to address your mood symptoms. For more information on depression, visit the Counseling Services " Common Mental Health Issues" page, and also consider taking the free, anonymous online screening for depression available on our " "Self-Help" page.