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AUS students sit final exams on campus
Students of American University of Sharjah (AUS) went back to campus to take their final exams on May 24 to June 3, with strict health and safety protocols put in place to ensure the health and well-being of the university community.
Guidelines of the Ministry of Education were followed before students were allowed back on campus, including installing thermal cameras, mandatory PCR testing or vaccination certificates, establishing QR codes to control and limit capacity of students within the exam halls and study spaces, maintaining safe distancing between students during the exams and the mandatory use of masks and sanitizers at all times.
“AUS students’ protection is our number one priority. We wanted to make sure that students did not have to worry about any health concerns while they take their exams. We wanted to provide students with a safe and comfortable space to relax and focus,” said Dr. James Griffin, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Instruction.
The university’s attention to detail was appreciated by students, including first-year mechanical engineering major Momen Waleed Aldahshan who said he felt safe going to campus.
“It was clear that the university was well-prepared to receive the students for the exam period. The use of the QR code was very helpful in maintaining the capacity of the halls, physical distancing measures were strictly implemented on campus, and there were even separate bins available to dispose of the used masks and gloves,” Aldahshan said.
“What I liked the most that there were security guards around to help also direct the students to where they need to go, especially first year students. Also, the limitation set on the capacity of the study rooms in the library allowed for a more comfortable and safe space to revise before the exams,” he said.
For some students, this was their first time visiting the AUS campus at University City in Sharjah since beginning their university journey.
“It is a lovely experience. The AUS campus is very beautiful. Walking in, I finally felt like a real university student!” said Erahma Al Shamsi, a first-year finance major.
While the exam period can be an intense time for university students, AUS’s Academic Support Center (ASC) provides a range of opportunities to help students succeed in their studies. For new university students, ASC’s First Year Experience (FYE) Pathway program is designed to prepare students for a successful first year at AUS.
“By completing this program, students learn about AUS resources, time management skills, study skills, self-care, and they make connections with faculty, staff and senior students. Completion of the FYE Pathway is also one of the qualifications for joining the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society,” said Dr. Mehvash Ali, Director of the ASC and FYE.
ASC also offers advising, academic accommodations for students with disabilities, workshops, and peer support to all students. Students also get the opportunity to take an assessment – the LASSI - for their study skills, through which they can identify their strengths and weaknesses in terms of study skills and then use the center’s workshops to build the areas in which they would like to develop.
In preparation for his own exams Al Shamsi said his approach depends on the subject he’s studying.
“The most important thing is that I pay attention in class to know the issues I need to focus on. So, depending on the course, I may go back to the PowerPoint presentations, or summarize the main points that I should focus on. For some subjects I need to practice more than read. There are also courses where I have to memorize terms and definitions to help myself out,” he said.
A study plan was the go-to technique for Aldahshan, who said: “I have been preparing hard for the finals and trying not to leave everything until the last minute. So, if I were to give a study tip, I would say work hard and create a study schedule for yourself. Also, it is important to try to minimize any distractions from your mobile phone.”
Aldahshan was also eager to use the various resources AUS offers its students to support them during their first year at university. “I have visited the Writing Center as well as the Math Learning Center and found both to be useful. The tutors were extremely helpful,” he said.
For more information about the AUS ASC and FYE Program, please visit www.aus.edu/academics/services-and-resources/academic-support-center.