A “dead week” is traditionally a week before finals that temporarily terminates classes in hopes that students will use that time to study. Cancelling class prevents students from obtaining vital resources they need to maximize their test scores.
Instead of holding a traditional dead week that cancels class, there should at least be optional classroom attendance. By holding class, professors can use that opportunity to review what will be in the exam, study with the guidance of the peers and professors and discuss any questions or concerns they may have.
According to an article on Gage.com, “You should study in a quiet well-lit area free of distractions. If possible, you should also have at least one place where you only study.”
A classroom is an ideal location to study as it provides a consistent and quiet area with plenty of help and resources available.
An article in The Atlantic said studying in a specific place also helps with memory recall while at that location. This is good preparation for test that will be taken in the classroom. The Atlantic also said that studying in a specific location, such as a classroom, helps with focus.
According to the article in The Atlantic, “The habit of studying will become strongly linked with one specific place. Then, rather than trying to force yourself to study, all you have to do is go to your study area. Once there, you’ll find it is relatively easy to get started.”
With optional attendance, students would be able to choose the location that best suits them. They would also have the option to go to class and ask for help from the professor. They could also use the in-class time to work with other students.
Carolina Zuniga-Mejia, a senior psychology major and Student Support service intern said she studies best when she can communicate with her classmates.
“When I study by myself I feel like I know the information, but if you’re studying with someone else, you find out, ‘Oh I don’t really know that,’ and you can go back and review it,” Zuniga-Mejia said.
Zuniga-Mejia also said one of her biggest struggles with finals is test anxiety. She said she believes that with extra in-class review and reassurance from the professor, she would better overcome this obstacle.
“I think having the option to go to class and review as a class, that would be really helpful especially if it’s a test that’s cumulative,” Zuniga-Mejia said.
Zuniga-Mejia said that one of the potential dangers of having no class would be that most college students would not take that time to study.
By holding class, it provides a specific time that students can come in, ask questions and review material, encouraging students to designate that time to attend class and study.
Another option could be spreading out in-class study time over a long course of time. Instead of attempting to cram the week before finals, professors could offer a little time each week in-class to review in the month leading up to finals. This could maximize students test scores.
According to an article on apa.org, “decades of research have demonstrated that spacing out study sessions over a longer period of time improves long-term memory. In other words, if you have 12 hours to spend on a subject, it’s better to study it for three hours each week for four weeks than to cram all 12 hours into week four.”
By offering study time and review in class, students are able to associate memory of the subject with the classroom location. It also provides resources that would otherwise be denied if class was canceled by a “dead week,” including extra time with the professor and other classmates to review finals material.