Aug 22, 2012


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Study Tip: How to Study with Friends
Studying for your classes doesn't have to turn you into a lone wolf. As the old sayings go, there's strength in numbers, two heads are better than one, and many hands make light work. But enough of cliché, here's how you make the right study group come together:

  1. Choose your partner(s) wisely. Look out for others who take notes and pay attention during class, rather than those who would provide a distraction from your work. To get the most motivated students interested, you might want to share that you're creating a study group on the class' blackboard, its chat room, or a social networking site.
  2. Set an agenda. Will you meet weekly? Before important exams? What do you want to accomplish? Some study groups convene to simply exchange ideas brought up in reading, while others might be used to brainstorm essay ideas and proofread papers. It's up to you, just make sure the group agrees on your purpose so you can all work toward it together.
  3. Stay on track before and during your session. Do the required reading ahead of the meeting, and spend the group's time wisely by sticking to course-related talk when you're together. The point of a study group is not to lessen your workload, rather to make you better retain what you've learned. Don't trust that someone else in the group is going to do the reading for you and give you all the answers.
  4. Lastly, at the end of each meeting, spend a few minutes brainstorming likely test questions. Rely on the strengths of your peers to bring up points you'd never have thought of on your own. Encountering different perspectives is a major upside of studying in a group, so take full advantage of it.
Study Tip: How to avoid procrastination
Did you know that there is a fine science devoted to explaining the causes for procrastination? Yes, that’s right, if you’re a procrastinator you’re not alone—you’re just a human being. So earthlings, to help you out in your studies here are a couple of tips on how to overcome the urge to put off today what you could do tomorrow. Just don’t put these ones off, okay?
1. Create immediate deadlines for yourself. If you have a far-off deadline, due to a process of logical thinking called “present bias,” you’re less likely to commit any hard work to it in the near future. Counteract this by setting small deadlines for yourself along the way: daily, weekly, monthly, depending on how far off your due date is. Checking little components off of a long list is satisfying as well!
2. Reward yourself along the way. In the same vein, a prize awarded to you at some future date (like a good grade on a project) is seemingly worth less because it can be replaced by a reward in the present (like watching TV). So why not incorporate these little rewards into your routine? Try studying or working for a certain number of hours, and rewarding yourself with, say, 15 minutes of internet time. You’ll also break up a long slog of studying into more manageable sessions.
For more tips on this, like the “Pomodoro Technique,” plus a helpful video, check out our blog post on the topic.

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