Having achieved a 4.0 GPA for the past four semesters, Perry Metzler, a junior hospitality management major from Atmore, says there is little pressure on him before his finals because he has been preparing consistently throughout the semester.
“I have a solid grade in every class and don’t have to stress as much before the finals,” Metzler said. “I study ahead of time a little bit for each class and focus on the exam at hand during the finals.”
Daniel Smith, an assistant professor of economics who authored the article “Grade Inflation Has Distorted Higher Education” published by Investor’s Business Daily, understands the quest for a perfect GPA.
“I wanted 4.0s when I was in both undergraduate and graduate school,” Smith said. “But when you look at it overall, the studies on the GPAs of students show that students with three-point GPAs tend to do better than the ones with a 4.0 after they graduate because they know how to deal with feedback mechanisms.
“That is what grades are; it is feedback for you to improve next time. “
According to Jay Valentine, an assistant professor of philosophy and religion, students contact him after he sends out study guides, as they serve as a wake-up call for them.
“I tend to have students email me a lot more when they are concerned with trying to understand things that they were not worried about before,” Valentine said.
Smith said more students utilize office hours toward the end of the semester but said it was better to address queries early on.
“It gets a lot more frantic towards the end,” Smith said. “Typically, the good students show up early and they correct mistakes, which is really important because you build on it throughout the semester.
“Some of them come in only towards the end, but unfortunately it’s often too late and there are not enough office hours for all of them.”
Valentine said students should be creative and willing to adjust their schedules, especially if they are behind.
“If getting a good grade requires sacrificing sleep for a couple of days, then you need to be willing to do that,” Valentine said.
Metzler said the key to succeed is to work hard throughout the semester, but if you haven’t, always talk to your teachers.
Valentine said students should be willing to commit time if they want to do well.
“If you are studying one hour when there is a ton of information you need to assimilate or memorize, then you are not doing enough, and even if you pass the class you are not getting much out of it,” Valentine said.
Smith encouraged students to use the test-taking and study resources Troy offers and said it frustrates him when students don’t succeed because they don’t use resources readily available to them.
For students who haven’t been doing well all semester, Smith said cramming the night before is not the best solution and they need some down time as well.
“All the evidence shows that cramming the night before the exam is unhelpful, so if you are in a situation where you haven’t been doing well, study as much as you can the week before,” Smith said. “The night before the exam, relax and go grab some ice cream.”
Smith said students should make sure they eat healthy food and exercise, as doing so affects their productivity.
“It is important not to overdo it,” Smith said.