Do you want to cut your workload by HALF?? Get yourself a study buddy- to share and swap your notes!
Both research and personal experience show that one of the most powerful learning aids for students is their fellow students. Two, three or more heads, learning together, can be enormously better than one. Unfortunately, this simple fact is seldom believed and rarely acted upon by students.
The’ Collective Wisdom’ is usually far greater than that of the individual, and it’s a pity not to use such a powerful learning tool. Clearly everyone needs time to study alone and sort out their individual problems. But certain problems (particularly in areas like lack of comprehension of course material) don’t always get solved alone. In fact, sometimes they’re not even noticed by individuals working alone.
STUDY GROUPS : are when several students agree to meet regularly for study purposes. The most successful study group ‘formally’ TIMETABLE their meeting (perhaps once or twice a week.) and commit themselves to attend (they contact each other and send apologies when they need to be absent.) Sometimes students get together from different schools – in this way they are sharing and swapping info from different teachers ( beware of copyright though!!)
Some groups divide up work. Each person studies a different item in depth and explains it at the next meeting, swap notes etc until it is agreed that everyone understands it, or that more study is needed. (In practice, having to explain is the MOST successful way to learn or remember things.) Other groups do it differently. They all study the same material and then question each other about it. Or debate the precise meaning of various points. Or work jointly at solving problems related to their courses. Etc.
Experience shows, however that the greatest value of Study Groups can be in PREPARING FOR EXAMS- the very time when most of our students in instinctively retire from each other and face the nerve-wracking problems of revision entirely alone. Think about it. When revising AS A GROUP you can-
• Pool your information and energies.
• Cross-question each other about every aspect of a course.
• Discover more accurately your own weak areas when you have difficulty explaining things to others.
• Make sure, jointly, that all possible areas which need to be studied have been covered.
• Help motivate each other to keep at it when anyone’s attention (or morale) begins to flag.
In fact, despite, the time taken by participating in a Study Group, there is no more efficient (or more memorable) way to learn. You’ll find that other students notice weaknesses in your learning which you may have overlooked, or understand points that you don’t and can explain them to you-and vice versa (this is collective wisdom).
When successful, there is no substitute for this sort of combined effort among students who are reasonably compatible. (You can always change membership if the original combination of personalities doesn’t work.) In other words, you can do yourself a big favour by finding one or several students with whom you get along reasonably well- who are taking the same courses as you are-and who are willing to try this approach for their own and each others’ benefit.
(adapted from UCC study handbook)