Sunday, November 25, 2007
Study Groups for Non-traditional Students
Greetings, fellow non-traditional students and those who are thinking about becoming non-traditional students. Today I am going to talk about my study groups that I made while in college for the second time, as an older student.
This is the second time I've chosen to talk about study groups. I did so once in November as well. I really think they are important, and can make the difference of at least ONE GRADE POINT every time you use them.
ABOUT STUDY GROUPS - AND WHY THEY CAN BE HARD TO START
I have had a request to talk about study groups. A writer recently told me that organizing or having a study group was almost impossible for him because everyone lived so far apart. My experience of using study groups was in a face-to-face class. We had the same difficulty in getting people together. For one thing, we lived in different areas. Although everyone could make it to class, some people had a very long drive to class. Coming in to campus on another day was hard at times. It was also hard to just come out and say, "Hi! Would you like to be in a study group for this class?" - but once I got into the habit of it, it wasn't as hard as the first time.
CHOOSING A GOOD TIME TO HAVE A STUDY MEETING
Everyone got together after class to decide when our study group would meet. Some people wanted to have the study group meet after class. Some wanted to meet before class (that was my idea). Others thought meeting an extra time before a test of quiz would be helpful. We decided to meet before class every week or two. This would not require an extra commute to school, and it was handy to meet at an area in the same building.
DIVIDING UP THE WORK
We had some hard tests and quizzes to prepare for; so we divided the work in to sections. One person covered one subject, and the others did others. We made quiz cards up and brought them to the study group meeting. We then quizzed each other, using the cards. This helped a lot to focus in on what we did and didn't know - and helped each of us know what we needed to study the most. Plus, making the cards helped us learn the material. We also helped each other by reminding each other about assignments and answered each other's questions.
MAKING THE MEETINGS
Sometimes, work or family responsibilities interfered with meetings, and some people could not come to one or more meetings. But usually, we still had enough people there to make each study group worthwhile.
SOME PEOPLE SAID NO
When I asked people around me in class if they wanted to be in a study group, some people just said no. I didn't let this bother me. Even if only 2 or 3 people would be interested, it still was a big enough group. The biggest group we had was about 6 people.
WHAT MY STUDY GROUPS ACCOMPLISHED
I truly believe that having a study group for class (especially a difficult class) made a huge difference in my grade. I think it helped at least one grade mark. Somehow talking with others and hearing what they thought would be on the test really made me remember facts a lot better than just trying to cram them in on my own.
AN ADDED BENEFIT TO STUDY GROUPS
Also, I believe that I really connected better with other students by being in a study group with them. We would sometimes talk about other things besides class, and that made the study groups a lot more fun. Most of the people in each group were a lot younger, but when we had the time (at study group time) to get to know each other, it also made going to class and studying a lot more fun. I now had people I actually KNEW in class with me. And today I still have some of the students who were in my study groups in my friends list in Facebook. I feel like I really made friends this way.
So... I would definitely recommend trying this if you are taking a face-to-face class. In an online class, it also would not hurt. You could get together online before or after class, or choose to call each other on the phone to touch base. I think it would definitely help.