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Stress More Success

GMIT Students’ Union Guide to Successful Study


A GMIT Students’ Union Welfare Publication (c) 2010

Best of luck from SU Vice President & Welfare Officer Colin Canny Hey Guys, I hope you are all keeping well and looking forward to the summer holidays which are only just around the corner. !!. It’s hard to believe it’s that time of the year again!!!Where has it gone?? We’ve had a great year in many ways with a whole host of different events and campaigns such as Freshers Week, Road Safety Week, Mental Health Week, Rag Week, SHAG Week and indeed the last Less Stress More Success campaign that was held just before the Summer. I hope that this week, at the Healthy Eating Less Stress More Success Campaign that we are running you will find something that may help you along with your preparations for the exams and indeed help you relax before we breakup for study week. Exam time can be stressful for most of you ,So to help you get through all the stress and strain we have come up with this magazine to help you get through this difficult time. Hopefully you might take something from it and you never know it might help you relax or study better!!!...Most of all, there are 3 main tips when studying for exams: 1. Sleep well 2. Eat well 3. and Relax They will be over before you know it!!! So just keep the heads up! Best of luck with your exams! Colin Your Vice President/Welfare Officer

A message from SU President Paddy Bonner With thanks to: • Bernie Lally (the Library) • Deirdre Cody (Health Unit) • Eimear Glennon (the Gym) • Fr. Adrian (Chaplaincy) • Counsellors Pauline Staunton and Pauline Clancy • Mary Kennedy (Registrar’s Office) • GMIT lecturers • Union of Students in Ireland • All other contributors

www.gmitsu.ie

Hi Guys, Well where did that year go! It’s hard to believe that the summer is nearly here. I just want to wish everyone the best of luck in there examinations and I’m sure you have all your work done. For anyone panicking all I can say is don’t worry !! It will all come together and for anyone looking for motivation just think of the long summer months you will have ahead of you. Remember to relax, get plenty of rest, eat well, and it will all be over in a couple of weeks. For anyone that is having difficulty with there exams or has had trouble during the year, don’t forget you can always apply to the aegortat board this is a board that is set up to help people with there exams that run into trouble during the year. You can pick up a form from either myself or Colin or you school office. We have had a very eventful year with some great campaigns like Shag week and Road Safety Week. We’ve also had some great nights out like Christmas Day and RAG Week. I hope you are all going to the End of year ball this Thursday so you can end the year in style!! Finally, as it is my last few weeks in office, I just want to say it has been an honour being you president over the last two years and I hope the upcoming exams go very well for you all. I want to wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavours. All the best, Paddy

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Study & Exam Tips Organisation is the key to managing exams_ Don’t waste time on regretting what you have left undone but focus on what you can do. Remember...you always know more than you think you know.

Exam Preparation & Checklist 1. Update all lecture notes you have missed and put them in order. 2. Get copies of past exam papers in each subject and look at the type of questions asked. 3. Look at the exam timetable and note the order of the exams. Take this into consideration when planning study i.e. don’t neglect the exams that are later in the week. 4. Give time to all subjects. Make out a timetable so that you give each subject a certain amount of time. Don’t leave study until the night before the subject. For problem solving subjects e.g. maths do out problems to see that if you have the method right. 5. Take down your exam timetable. Double check that you have the right day, the right time and the right location 6. Check the timetable again two days before the start of exams. Check day, time and location again. 7. Do not stay up very late and get up early on the morning of the exam. Studying to 3.00am and getting up again at 6.00 to study is a recipe for disaster. Your brain will not be able to function when presented with the paper.

Day of the Exam a. Ensure that you have had a reasonable nights sleep. Do not study beyond 12.00 midnight and use the morning just for a quick review of the key points if you have an early exam. If you have an exam later in the day make sure that you take a break some time in the day. b. Have everything you need organised the night before e.g. calculator, biros, ruler c. Be at the exam centre in plenty of

time. d. Take some deep breaths and try to relax. There is no use now in giving out to yourself about what you have left out. Switch off your negative tape. Remember you always know more than you think you know and you have a better chance of remembering things if you relax a bit. e. Read the paper carefully. Check the number of questions that you are required to answer and decide which ones that you will answer. It is essential that you attempt the required number of questions. If you leave out one question, you automatically lose all of the marks for that question and doing other questions very well doesn’t compensate for that. f. Allocate time for each question. Do a quick outline of your answer in the margins or as rough work. Start with the question you know best as this will help to settle you. Do not go beyond the allotted time for it. Leave space to add further information if you need to. g. If you do get pressed for time at the end it is better to have an outline done out than a note for the lecturer about having too little time. An outline can get marks a note to the lecturer doesn’t!! If you get stressed during the exams contact one of the counsellors.

Study Tips Ideas around study are very simple and you operate them every day of your life without being aware that you are doing so. You organise, you attend to things and concentrate. You make connections between things and you go over them in your head so that you won’t forget them. So you know how to study you just have to make decision to do so. Find something to motivate yourself e.g. I want to get a high mark; I want to pass my exams; I will feel good when I do well; or I would hate to have to study over the Summer if I had to repeat. Critical Thinking When memorising it is helpful to have

some key questions as an aid to help learning. What do I already know about this? What is the purpose of this experiment or topic? What is the key idea? What are the main assumptions underlying it? What is the evidence to support them? If I were to explain this topic/ experiment to someone else what would I highlight?

Memorisation strategies 1. Spaced practice rather than cramming. Spaced practice means I go back to material over a number of days and this delays forgetting. It also allows time for the information to consolidate or set in long term memory. If you try to push in too much you just won’t remember it. e.g. If you try to fill a container very quickly the liquid will spill over and you will lose it. Whereas if you fill it slowly you will ensure that you can fill it to maximum capacity without losing anything. 2. Breaking down tasks. If you break down the material into small units it is easier to organise, easier to stay focused and easier to concentrate. We become actively involved in learning when dealing with small units of material. 3. Repetition always helps memory. One particular method of memorisation is called the Cornell Method. It’s based on the five R’s: Record: Make a note of the information you need to memorise. Reduce: Reduce the sentence or paragraph to a word or phrase. Recite: Recite to yourself the list of words or phrases. Reflect: Think about the ideas behind the words and phrases. Review: Go back over the information and see if you can expand the words and phrases back to the original idea.

GMITSU Guide to Successful Study_ PAGE 3


Library Get study assistance from the Library_ If the library is anything to go by, students have been working very hard this term. Our study rooms have been fully used for weeks and our book issues have increased substantially on this time last year. You may not want to see another book list, but here are a few titles that might help in the area of study skills, exam preparation and keeping an eye on stress levels at this busy time. AUTHOR: Levin, Peter, 1936TITLE: Sail through exams!: Preparing for traditional exams for undergraduates and taught postgraduates / Peter Levin. 1 > Galway General 371.30281 AUTHOR: McMillan, Kathleen. TITLE: How to succeed in exams and assessments / Kathleen McMillan and Jonathan Weyers. 1 > Galway General 371.26 AUTHOR: McMillan, Kathleen. TITLE: The smarter student: skills and strategies for success at university / Kathleen McMillan & Jonathan Weyers. 1 > Galway General 378.00941

strategies for college success : a self-management approach / Myron H. Dembo, Helena Seli. 1 > Galway General 378.198 DEM These are just a selection of the books we have on those topics. Check the library catalogue for more. The library is involved in the Learning 2 Learn module and one of the topics we cover is plagiarism. Plagiarism is taking somebody else’s work and passing it off as your own. It is, of course, one of the most serious issues in academic life as it undermines a student’s reputation and also reflects on the institution. In the Learning to Learn module we are trying to raise awareness of plagiarism as a serious issue. We are also emphasising that by citing the sources you use in your work, you are showing how much research you have done. The Learning 2 Learning Module also includes a session on citation, so citing correctly and compiling references for a bibliography should not be such a chore. One thing we would ask students is to try and keep the noise levels in the library to a minimum. It is hard to concentrate when there is a buzz of conversation in the background.

AUTHOR: Lee-Davies, Linda. TITLE: Developing work and study skills / Linda Lee-Davies: with IT skills section by Susan Bailey. 1 > Galway General 371.30281 LEE

If you have queries about any aspect of library services, please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the library staff. You can contact us through the website at library.gmit.ie or ext. 2785. We know this is a hectic time for students and we are here to help in any way we can.

AUTHOR: Dembo, Myron H. TITLE: Motivation and learning

We wish all students the very best in their exams!

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Library Opening Hours Extended Opening Hours Dublin Road Mon – Wed 09.00 – 22.00 New! Thur-Fri 09.00 – 21.00 New! Saturday 10.00 – 17.00 New! Cluain Mhuire Monday 09.30 – 19.30 Tue & Wed 09.30 – 18.00 Thursday 09.30 – 21.00 New! Friday 09.30 – 16.00


PROBLEMS WITH YOUR EXAMS? USE THE

AEGROTAT BOARD

• Are you unable to sit an exam due to illness or bereavement? • Was your exam performance impared by personal circumstances?

If YES, you can apply to the Aegrotat Board who will consider your case You must apply on the official form within 3 days of the end of your exams

Contact your School or SU office for the form


Healthy Food = Healthy Mind for your exams!


Healthy Body Healthy Mind Benefits for the mind while exercising and feeding your body_ As exam time nears the stress levels for students and Staff is on the rise. Exercise and good nutrition are keys to stress management and improved study performance.

Exercise Taking frequent effective exercise is one of the best physical stress-reduction techniques available. Exercise not only improves your health and reduces stress caused by lack of fitness, it also relaxes tense muscles and helps you to sleep, which can only improve your ability to concentrate while studying. Exercise has a number of other positive benefits. It improves blood flow to your brain, bringing additional sugars and oxygen that may be needed when you are thinking intensely. Exercise can cause release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream. These give you a feeling of happiness and positively affect your overall sense of well-being. It also helps with the decreased production of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. Below is information from The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute which details the importance of proper nutrition during exam times.

Nutrition and Health Tips Smart Foods What students eat and drink in the run up to their exams can affect their performance. Whilst it is necessary to put in the ‘hours’ studying, taking the time to eat healthily, and getting fresh air and exercise are also very important preparations for a clear and focused mind. The brain is one of the smallest organs in the body, however it uses up to 20% of the energy we need every day. Keeping a steady supply of glucose as

energy to the brain will help ensure that you do not lose concentration during both your study and exam times. Breakfast Skipping breakfast can mean loss of recall and concentration both detrimental to a student so ensure you choose foods that are high in fibre and give your body a slow steady release of glucose for example • Wholegrain cereal with milk, fresh orange juice. • Bowl of porridge with sultanas • Wholemeal bread toasted with chopped banana • If you are too nervous to eat try drinking a smoothie these will supply essential nutrients and energy. Snacks Snacking regularly on healthy foods can also ensure a steady slow release of glucose to the brain. Useful foods as snacks include: • Fresh fruit or veg • Popcorn • Fruit /Wholemeal scone. • Dried fruit /nuts • Fruit Brack. • Wholegrain cereal bars Suitable Drinks Many students tend to survive on coffee and other caffeine containing drinks during this busy time. Whilst some studiers show that a small amount of caffeine i.e. equivalent of one cup coffee can make us more alert taking excess caffeine can upset our blood sugars causing us to loose concentration so limit your intake. Caffeine is also a diuretic, which causes to loose fluids and need to go to the bathroom, which is not a very good idea during an exam! Keep well hydrated by drinking approx 1.5 lts of non-caffeine drinks/day for example fruit juices, herbal teas, and water.

options: • Bowl vegetable soup and wholemeal scone/bread •Wholemeal chicken/ham/egg/cheese Sandwich • Chicken/tuna Wrap • Prepared Tuna/pasta salad • Smoothies. General Advice • Don’t skip meals especially breakfast. • Avoid any kind of weight loss diets during this important time as many of these are lacking in essential nutrients and can cause you to lack concentration. • As many students leave home quite a while before an exam be sure and take a healthy snack with you to eat either during or before the exam as breakfast can be a long way off • Avoid caffeine drinks especially in evening try herbal/green tea instead as this will help you sleep better another essential for successful exams • Get some form of exercise every day for example a brisk 30 min walk etc this will help you to relax and concentrate better Best of Luck to all students. Keep studying and Keep Training!!! Eimear Glennon Gym Manager

Lunch Many students will be sitting two exam papers /day so eating a good lunch is also very important. Don’t be tempted to visit the local chipper, as this will leave you feeling full and sluggish for the afternoon. Here are some good

GMITSU Guide to Successful Study_PAGE 7


Health Unit You are welcome to the Student Health Unit. The G.M.I.T. Student Health Unit provides a holistic approach to health, we are here to assist with issues relating to the mind as well as the body. Whether it is a coping with exams issue, mood issues, food issues or of a personal/family nature you can approach us to talk. We are available to discuss any concerns you yourself may have, or even if you are worried about a friend and don’t know what to do. We work closely with the college counsellors and compliment each other’s services. You may find that you don’t have a close friend to confide in since the transition to college, just call in to the Health Unit and speak to the nurse if you need some advice or just to talk. Appointments for the Doctor; Phone the Student Services Secretaries on 091 742228. To speak to the nurse; phone 091 742228 or just call in.

Tips on Essays/Projects Many of you have already had assignments this year, and many of you will have deadlines this Christmas time. The first one is always the most difficult to get started, every year. It’s a stumbling block and the trick is not to let it trip you up. There are ways to get over it. Organisation helps. Read and re-read your assignment topics. Check the deadline and write it down, also, write down a seven day warning so that you know where you are with your work and it doesn’t sneak up on you. Once you’ve chosen your topic organise your notes from the lectures. Start to make a list of the reading material you’ve been given and anything mentioned in the lecture. TALK TO YOUR LECTURER or whoever set the assignment. They have office hours for a reason; they will be PAGE 8_GMITSU Guide to Successful Study

open to discussing ideas and suggesting reading. Essays follow a formula, they follow a certain structure. The good news is that there are lots of books that help with the technical issues, Google “study guides” and you’ll find a wide selection. One that is particularly good for students is The Arts Good Study Guide by E. Chambers (Open University, 1997), which can be picked up in most good bookshops, or found online, and maybe in your library. This has advice on reading, notes, short essays and longer assignments. After you get your result back, make sure to speak to whoever marked it. If you want to improve, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses, which your lecturer will be able to tell you. Best of luck !!!


Plagiarism Don’t take shortcuts...know how to reference_

doubt, cite the source! But you MUST acknowledge distinctive ideas, sources of specific information, verbatim phrases, sources of original terms, sources of statistics.

So people around you continually panic about their exams, deadlines and assignments, while you just don’t lose your cool. Impressive. As they say - good man (woman)!

Using in your own work, the ideas and information generated by another person, without acknowledging that usage is generally regarded as plagiarism.

A quick check-up question: are you sure you are not taking shortcuts? International students should be aware of how the written works’ format differs here in Ireland from what they are used to. Hardly anyone fancies being accused of plagiarism - it is not the best thing to have on your record.

Sometimes plagiarism is unintentional: simply a result of lack of skill in paraphrasing, summarising and quotation. However, at postgraduate level it is expected that you could not unintentionally plagiarise, and that therefore, you are responsible for your actions. In academia, plagiarism is a serious issue. It is so serious that a specific declaration of awareness is required in a thesis document. To protect yourself from a possible accusation of plagiarism the following conventions should be followed:

Irish universities are fairly strict on protecting intellectual property rights, applying the software to detect the “Copy-Paste” cases. For years now overseas students get caught breaking these rules. No reason to join that unfortunate group. First of all, read carefully your student handbook as it will have the general policies and rules you should know. Than ask your lecturers, teaching assistance and students around you to be clear on what is expected of you. When writing an essay, remember the words of old good Marcus Aurelius: “if it is not right to do, don’t do it; if it is not true do not say it”. i.e. refrain from copying from the internet and make sure the source of the information is reliable. Otherwise, if you stretch the truth, watch out for the snapback.

A. If you are summarising ideas you gleaned from a book/s, you must acknowledge where you got them, by using the authors’ name/s and the date/ s of publication. You must then list the books, with the full references, in your bibliography. B. If the point you are summarising is particularly controversial or important, you should give the page number in the book where the original point is made. C. All direct quotations in your text should be acknowledged with the page number of the source as well as the writer and date.

In summary: Plagiarism means presenting the words of another writer as if they were your own. This is a serious matter, and if it is detected in any of your writing submitted for assessment it may result in sanctions. The way to avoid plagiarism is very simple: always put quotation marks around someone else’s words and credit the words to their proper source. If you also borrow ideas from another writer, say so and name the source. In this way you can also impress an examiner by showing that you have done some research! ( See Anderson & Poole, 2001, p. 16, for further details.) Plagiarism could be regarded as a breach of copyright. Copyright, generally refers to ownership of products, ideas or knowledge. In educational research and writing there might be copyright issues about the right to claim credit for research findings and for written material. There are questions about ‘ownership’ wherever there is scholarship. Here we move into the realm of ethics. In educational research there are well developed ethical guidelines for both the conduct of research and the presentation of research findings. Higher education institutions usually have a designated research ethics committee and sets of agreed guidelines available on the intranet. Check this with your academic staff. Good Luck with your writing!

We can assume that all our ideas are informed from many sources and that we rarely have an idea that is totally new! However, in academic writing we distinguish between common knowledge that is available from sources such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, yearbooks etc. and specific knowledge that came from an identifiable source such as a report. In some cases a writer needs to make a judgment about whether to reference a source of common knowledge or not. The rule generally is: if you are in

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Counselling Service Never feel that you are helpless and on your own in college. Contact the Counsellor to get help and support in total confidence. Counsellors Pauline Staunton and Pauline Clancy are available to speak to you today. The Counsellors are available one day per week in Cluain Mhuire and Letterfrack campuses. Opening Hours: Drop in times: Phone:

9.00 - 5.00 11.00 -12.00 and 1.00 - 2.00 091_742118 for appointments

Meditation Group…

Learn how to relax, stay calm and lower your anxieties…. Every day from 1-2pm in the Meditation Room/Chapel on the Dublin Road (near SU & Medical Centre) on a drop in basis – FREE. COME & GIVE IT A TRY!!! Do you want to :-

• Lower your stress levels? • Stay calm under pressure? • Sleep better? • Learn to relax? • Beat exam stress? • Worry less?

Make a positive change in your life!

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GMIT CODE OF PRACTICE ON PLAGIARISM As approved by the Academic Council on 9 October 2009. SECTION A 1.0 Principles Students are encouraged to read widely for essays, projects and dissertations and to incorporate that knowledge in their work. Writers have to acknowledge the source of synthesised material and direct quotations have to be clearly identified. It is important that material is not plagiarized, that is using it as if it was a person’s own ideas and work. However, students are encouraged to reflect on topics and express their own opinions. 1.1 Definition Plagiarism is the passing off of the work of another person as one’s own. Examples of plagiarism include: • Using material from a book or journal without quoting the source, • Taking text from the internet and including it in an assignment without acknowledging the source (there is now software available to detect plagiarism), • Copying from another student, • Copying material from a DVD or any other media. Plagiarism whether intentional or not is an extremely serious academic offence with serious consequences. Including the source in the bibliography is not enough. The proper procedure for such work is citation: acknowledging or attributing the idea or quote by providing information on its source in accordance with the recommended referencing system used in the discipline. Direct quotations must be referenced and summarised material should be acknowledged. 1.2 All material submitted for assessment is assumed to be a student’s own work except where it is clearly referenced as originating in another source. 1.3 It is important that all students are given proper instruction and guidance on referencing. This is a matter for each lecturer and Programme Board and it can be put on moodle, with examples. 1.4 Students submitting written material for any assessment undertaken outside of supervised examinations should sign a declaration on the first page that the material is their own work. 1.5 Any breaches of these conditions are to be addressed in accordance with the procedures specified in section B. SECTION B 2.0 PROCEDURES 2.1 The procedures classify alleged offences into two categories, minor and major. A minor offence of plagiarism is

a small or innocent or careless misuse of material from another source or poor referencing. A major offence of plagiarism involves taking several paragraphs from a source or sources, including the internet, without acknowledgement, or submitting or copying the material belonging to another student or former student with or without consent. 2.2 A lecturer should inform the student that he / she is referring the alleged offence to his / her Head of Department. The Head of Department shall interview the students and clearly explain what is alleged. The student should be given an opportunity to explain the sources used and asked to admit or deny the allegation. The Head of Department should then decide the following: a) if the allegation is very minor and arose in years one or two from a misunderstanding in which case the student can receive general advice on referencing, or if b) it should be treated as an alleged minor offence, or as c) an alleged major offence. 2.3 Where the allegation is treated as a minor offence, the allegation can be considered by a School / Centre Plagiarism Committee. This Committee shall consist of the Head of School Centre as chairperson and two lecturers from the School other than the lecturer alleging the plagiarism. 2.4 Student Notification Students will be provided with three days notification in writing of a meeting with the Plagiarism Committee. They will be notified of the assignment to which the issue relates, and will be informed that they may bring a representative (e.g. from the Students’ Union) to the meeting if they wish. 2.5 Meeting Format • The committee will meet the lecturer alleging the plagiarism. The lecturer will have the opportunity to outline to the committee the nature of the assignment, guidelines given, and the suspected plagiarism identified in the presence of the student(s) involved. • The student will be informed of the format of the meeting by the chair, and will be asked whether they admit plagiarism. If plagiarism is admitted they will be asked if there are any mitigating circumstances. If the student denies plagiarism they will have the opportunity to outline how they completed the assignment, and their intent in doing so. 2.6 Decision of the Committee The committee will discuss each case

individually in the absence of the lecturer and student(s) and will consider: • the extent of plagiarism • the type of plagiarism • the guidelines given to students by the Department and/or lecturer • the level of the student • the intent of the student • whether the student has previously plagiarised 2.7 Penalties for Plagiarism Where a decision is reached that plagiarism has occurred the committee may decide to impose a penalty which may include one or more of the following: • Verbal/written warning • A mark of zero for the assignment with no cap on any repeat • An oral examination • Essay on plagiarism • An alternative assignment 2.8 Communication of Decisions The decision of the plagiarism committee will be communicated in writing to the student as soon as possible, but within 7 working days. The lecturer will be copied on the communication to the student. 2.9 Appeal Mechanism Students have the right to appeal the Department Plagiarism Committee decision. Appeals may be brought in writing through the Head of Department to the GMIT Disciplinary Committee. 2.10 Records A record of all Plagiarism Committee meetings and their decisions will be maintained in the School office. This record will be sourced to identify whether previous plagiarism has been identified in the case of an individual student. 3.0 Allegation of a major plagiarism 3.1 Any allegation of major plagiarism should be referred to the Registrar, who shall bring the issue to the Institute’s Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the procedures specified in the Code of Student Conduct. 3.2 The Disciplinary Committee can at its discretion, impose any of the following penalties where the allegation is proven: a) that no mark be awarded for the work in question with the repeat mark capped at 40%, or b) that no mark is awarded for the work in question, with the repeat mark capped at 40% and the repeat treated as a second attempt, or c) in b above, that the student would not be allowed to repeat for twelve months. 3.3 A student has a right to appeal any decision of the Disciplinary Committee to the Governing Body in accordance with section 8 of the Code of Student Conduct.


Prayer Before an Exam Dear Lord, Sometimes I feel a little strange praying to you because of an exam. It doesn’t really seem all that significant when you consider the “big picture.� But right now, the test looms so large that it is all I can see before me. I pray to you for three things: - the strength to handle the pressure that I feel, - the confidence to feel secure in my knowledge and preparation, - and the ability to keep an appropriate perspective on it all. Help me to keep in mind what is really important, even as I focus all of my time and energy on this test in the immediate future. Amen

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