A student works in College Library in this January file photo. UW’s Division of Student Life is trying to make cheating a thing of the past.[/media-credit]

For some University of Wisconsin students the stress of finals can be all-consuming, causing them cheat and plagiarize rather than do work themselves.

Yolanda Garza, an assistant dean in UW’s Division of Student Life, has been working with faculty and students over the past semester to educate them on academic misconduct.

With 60 percent of students nationally thinking about cheating or actually resorting to it, DSL wants to ensure faculty knew what they could do to prevent cheating and plagiarism as well as what to do when they encounter it.

UW spokesperson Lucas said DSL is trying to raise awareness so students understand they’re at UW for a reason and can succeed academically if they prepare.

With only two days left until exams start, Lucas said the Writing Center, Greater University Tutoring Service and University Health Services could still help students scrambling for advice.

To help combat the stress of finals, UHS Student Relations Manager Rob Sepich recommended giving your brain a break whether it be with physical exercise, listening to music or just sitting back to breathe.

Escaping from the stress for a few minutes helps students avoid feeling trapped, he said.

“By taking a break you can see things in a different light,” Sepich said. “You can focus on the materials instead of managing anxiety symptoms.”

Taking frequent breaks also helps improve recall. While Sepich said there’s no hard and fast rule, students should step back from studying at least five to ten minutes per hour.

Because the mind remembers the first and last things a person studies, when students study for long periods of time without breaks they forget everything in the middle, he said. This is why taking frequent breaks helps people recall things more effectively, he added.

Getting enough sleep is also important, simply because it catches up with students sooner or later, Sepich said.

At least three students Speich has talked to have fallen asleep during a final, which he said proves that when the amount of sleep decreases it manifests either through less efficient studying or literally hitting students during finals.

“When I talk to really successful professional students – med students, law students – it’s remarkable how many say sleep is [their] number one priority,” he said.