Misery loves company, so goes the old saying – and this is never more true than in revision season at Warwick, when the campus rustles to the tune of hundreds of pale, hollow-eyed figures shambling about blindly as they stagger from one deadline to another. And that’s just the staff… by Annette.
What if there was a different way?
Imagine if, instead of nights alone, shaking with fear as the impossible burden of revision mounts before you, you awoke refreshed, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, excited about the learning and consolidation opportunities before you.
OK – realistically that’s probably not going to happen, because sometimes, and especially during exam time, real life doesn’t quite live up to the cover of the university prospectus! But there is a way of relieving the pain and fear of Term 3: setting up a revision group.
Revision has traditionally been something we do alone. Whether through fear of distraction or worry about of sharing our ideas publicly, the image we conjure up when imagining revision is often a lone student burning the midnight oil while crouched over a mountain of paperwork. I blame St Jerome, the patron saint of scholars and expert prodder of skulls.
But the world has moved on and today there is no need to suffer in silence. In fact, there are multiple benefits to studying with peers. The opportunity to discuss ideas, problems and solutions can make revision (almost) enjoyable. Additionally, working through exam and essay questions together can introduce new perspectives, making what would have been a good answer into an outstanding response.
Starting a study group: Top Five Tips
Size is everything
Make sure your group is small enough to allow everyone to contribute ideas. More than 6 people can get unwieldy. Have you ever herded cats? It’s not easy.
Space: the final frontier
Choose your setting wisely. The Library is, of course, excellent (I would say that, wouldn’t I), but if yours is a discussion group you will need to meet in Floors 1 and 2. These can be busy so have a peek beforehand to find a space with as few distractions as possible. You can also use the social spaces in the Learning Grids in the Rootes building and University House, which are designed for group study. You might even find that the buzz of a café suits your group, or the comfort of your living room.
Ensure you have the contact details of everyone in your group. Set up an online space where you can meet to chat, even if it’s just a group on Facebook or WhatsApp.
Make sure you have a specific topic to study at every session to prevent wasting time. Agree these in advance to allow group members to research beforehand. Alternatively, agree a set of exam questions to look at so everyone can discuss their answers.
Expand your comfort zone
Look for different ways of presenting information. If you usually take notes, try drawing diagrams, creating a mind map, or using flow charts. When you share these with the group, they will instantly become more memorable.
Look at it this way: if two heads are better than one, how great would six heads be?! Revision groups can be great because you’re accountable to your friends…and because you’ve got people to take a break with!
Images: Averroes and Porphyry by Monfredo de Monte Imperiali [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Saint Jerome in His Study/Pieter Coecke van Aelst, the elder/The Walters Museum/CC0 1.0
Antiphony for Abbess of Sainte-Maire of Beaupré/The Walters Museum/CC0 1.0
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