When you’re in a challenging class, it can be easy to overlook one of your most valuable resources: fellow students. In other words, you may want to team up with one or more students in your class to conduct study sessions. A study partner or study group can benefit you in numerous ways:
- They can help you stay motivated: If you always study by yourself, it can sometimes be hard to make yourself sit down at your desk and get started. When you are part of a study group, however, you have an obligation not only to yourself, but also to your fellow classmates. This can motivate you to complete those study sessions even when you’d rather be doing something else.
- They can help you with difficult concepts: Your fellow classmates can also be your tutors. This means that, at the beginning of a session, everyone can take a few minutes to ask questions about confusing or challenging topics. These questions will hopefully be questions that one or more of your group members will be able to answer.
- They can provide practice questions: If you have a math study group, all of the group’s members can be asked to prepare a certain number of practice questions each week and make copies for other group members.
- They can help you assess your knowledge: Study partners can take turns asking each other questions about topics covered in class. This allows partners or group members to identify problem areas and helps each individual to determine whether he or she is well prepared for the next test or not.
Study partners and study groups are supposed to be a positive influence, but that’s not always the case. To ensure that teaming up with fellow students will help you improve your marks rather than lower them, follow these tips:
- Keep study groups small.
- Team up with students who are serious about their studies.
- Be honest about your ability to stay focused: If you know you’ll end up gossiping instead of studying, you may be better off studying solo.
- Only study with people who are pulling their weight: If one member frequently comes unprepared and seems to be taking advantage of other group members, don’t be afraid to ask them to stop coming.
- Remember that you will still need to do some independent study: Study groups and study partners can be a big help, but memorizing information is something that you will have to do largely on your own.