The Academic Support Center at Florida Tech has offered group study sessions for a number of undergraduate courses over several semesters. These sessions are coordinated in conjunction with professors for each of the classes, with the peer tutor leading the group in reviewing problems and concepts for an upcoming exam. Some students aren’t as familiar with the format and intent of these group study sessions as others, so the ASC staff has put together a checklist for students to review before attending a group study. By using this list to prepare, students can maximize the benefits of a group study session.
Prepare a list of questions or concepts that you would like to review.
Group study sessions are interactive; the role of the peer tutor is to facilitate problem solving and streamline the academic discussion. Peer tutors do not come to group study sessions with the intent to lecture. Instead, they arrive prepared to answer questions and go through any instructor-provided study guides. It is the role of the student to ask questions and interact with the peer tutor during the session. This way, the peer tutor can direct the review to best meet the needs and concerns of the students.
Bring the textbook, your notes, and any other relevant materials.
It’s difficult to make cookies if you show up to the kitchen without the ingredients. An athlete would have a difficult time practicing for a sport if they arrived without the necessary clothing, equipment, or hydration. Similarly, students should bring materials from the class to the group study session. Textbooks, corrected homework problems, and graded quizzes provide material to review for the exam.
Have some way to take notes or write down practice problems.
Group study sessions can give you additional information to use to review for an exam. Bring paper and pencil, use a notetaking app on your phone, or type up your notes on a laptop. Taking notes keeps you engaged in the group study session and helps you to be an active participant, thereby helping you to get the most out of the experience.
Bring a friend who is equally prepared.
This last step is somewhat optional, but knowing someone else in the group study session can help you feel less concerned about asking questions and working out loud with the peer tutor. Many students feel intimidated in a classroom-like setting and refuse to ask questions for fear of looking less intelligent. If you have a friend with you, asking questions can be easier.
Group study sessions make a difference in grades, but only when students are active participants in the experience. A little bit of preparation goes a long way in the quest for an academically successful semester.