Gather around! ‘Tis time to take hold of your pens and highlighters — to grasp your calculators! — to clutch your erasers! Exams are right around the corner and I am your official exam crier!

Although most of our best studying gets done individually and in isolation, study groups can work wonders too…only if implemented correctly.

In my experience, I have found that study groups are best leveraged in these situations:

STUDY QUESTIONS

If you are provided a study question packet for an upcoming exam, or have problem sets that you’ve been assigned throughout the semester, you should be revisiting these around exam time anyways.

However, we must remember to work smarter, not harder. Hence, we have groups.

Split up questions among the 2-3 people (no more because the likelihood that no one will get anything done is high in larger groups). Isolate more difficult questions (i.e., the ones you didn’t “get” the first time). Revisit these problems with the 2-3 people; 2-3 brains are better than one brain.

STUDY GUIDE

I’ve found that this method works best for information-heavy lab courses. Sharing a document of lab or lecture notes, or creating a summary of these notes for exam testing as a group cuts down individual time and ensures that everyone do well. Again, work smarter, not harder. Exam time means limited time.

PENULTIMATE REVIEW

A day before an exam, or even the morning of said exam, reviewing with 2-3 people will speed up your own review process. Revisiting information with others tends to introduce new links between learned information and previous knowledge, which strengthens conceptual understanding for the exam. Moreover, I have found that doing an overall review with friends before an exam calms me down far better than racking my brain the morning of alone in a room plastered with notes.

Good luck with exam studying, All!

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