Study with a Partner to Succeed

study partnersSometimes, it is just not fun to have to study, especially when you see other people out and about, doing fun things. But when you study with a friend, you know that you are not suffering alone, and that makes it somewhat more tolerable. Also, you have someone to help explain concepts or problems you don’t understand, and vice versa.

My main problem when I try to study with my friends is that we end up talking more about Desperate Housewives than the class we are supposed to be studying. I have a feeling I’m not alone in this habit.

So is there any way you can get the benefits of studying with a friend without getting sidetracked? I attended a seminar about the benefits of group learning and how to make it the most efficient use of your study time.

Here are some study tips that can help you and your study partner out.

1. Set an agenda. If you know what you have to study during your study session, you can make a list and check off each thing as you learn it. Put something rewarding at the end of your list, like a trip to the ice-cream shop, to motivate both you and your partner to stay on task.

2. Take turns playing teacher. You should explain one section, then let your partner explain the next. This will allow you to interact with each other and will also help you learn the material more thoroughly. But make sure you stick to your agenda and don’t sink into a spiraling conversation of doom in which you discuss the latest plot twists on TV or how cheesy your professor is because he wears a bow-tie to every class.

3. Swap notes. Assuming you can read your partner’s handwriting, exchanging notes can be a great idea. Your friend might have taken wonderful notes about something you just didn’t understand, or you might read something that jogs your memory. Also this gives both of you a chance to catch any mistakes in your notes so you won’t keep learning the wrong information.

4. Brainstorm together. You could try to think of possible questions that will be on the next exam or mull over thesis subjects for your term papers. Two minds are better than one, right? You’ll have twice as many ideas flying around than if you did this yourself, and it’s likely that you’ll both think of something the other person does not.

The main problem with studying with a friend or in a group is getting off-subject. But if you can exercise some will-power and stay on track, you’ll definitely receive some benefits you might never have received by studying on your own.

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