Sunday, October 9, 2011

Forming a Study Group

If you don't know it yet, you have a midterm coming up in two weeks (Oct. 17th for MW class and Oct. 18th for TTh). It seems like most college students do not take advantage of study groups as we too often see learning as a solitary activity, but studies show that students who use study groups perform better than those who don't. Study groups are based on the notion that learning is a social activity as in we construct knowledge collectively. In 1010, we utilize this notion in the groups in your collaborative learning groups, which is the fancy phrase for the groups I assigned you to at the beginning of the semester. The idea behind these groups is the same as a study group - learning occurs socially or collaboratively or at the very least can be enhanced by engaging with one's peers. This about.com article provides some helpful tips on how to form a study group: About.com How to Form a Study Group.

Questions:
1. Have you ever tried a study group for an exam? How did it go?
2. What are the positive and negatives associated with a study group? How do you mediate the negatives?
3. Do you have any other exam studying tips that you would like to share?
4. What is your take on learning? How does it occur? Is it solitary, collaborative? What is the role of traditional schooling (grade school, high school, college) in the learning process?

25 comments:

  1. I've tried to study in a group for an exam in the past, but the few times I tried it, some of the people in the group weren't serious about studying. It felt like they didn't even care about the exam and were more interested in distracting everybody. Because of this, I have found that I generally study better alone.

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  2. I used study groups many times in high school and they were beneficial when everyone showed up prepared and ready to actually study and not socialize. A positive effect, is having other students gives perspectives on materials that you may not have arrived at on your own, and it can be good to fill in the gaps on topics that you did not understand in the unit. A negative, is there can always be distracting people in the group. I think learning types depend on the person. Some just may get distracted with others, and therefore it would be better if they studied in a solitary fashion. However for people who benefit with learning with others, a group learning environment works best. It just depends on the person.

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  3. Talking about study groups just reminds me of the TV show, "Community." I have tried study groups, however, I am not too fond of them. It depends a lot on the subject. If it is a subject I'm good in, then I don't want to study in a group. But if it is a subject that I hate, such as math, then I'm more likely to join a study group. One main thing I dislike about study groups is that I usually end up teaching the group, and/or doing the majority of the work. Not always, but a lot of the time.

    Some studying tips I follow focus on NOT CRAMMING. To this day, I have never stayed up past midnight, studying for a test. Studies show that students are less likely to retain the information when they are tired. Basically, it is a waste of your time to study that late. Therefore, I like to start a few days before the test. Sometimes, I start studying a week in advance. Looking over the material a little bit each day makes the night before the test less stressful.

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  4. I had both positive and negative experiences when using study groups. Its beneficial to have someone else there to quiz you or explain concepts you don't quite grasp. It provides you with auditory learning as well as visual. But things can head south when a group member takes on a self-centered or disruptive role like we talked about in class. From reading others comments, it seems as if everyone has had plenty of these experiences.

    Ideally, when a test is approaching, I like to spread my studying over a three day period. It provides plenty of time to focus on each subject and retain the knowledge while also providing free time to prevent burnout. Some people need other things going on around them but I prefer to be solitary with some background music.

    I believe learning takes place in all types of environments and situations. Traditional schooling is an example of collaborative learning that has become a foundation of our culture. Epiphanies are typically a learning or enlightenment that occur on a solo basis.

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  5. Although I study better alone, I have had great experiences with study groups in the past. There have been many times where friends or the people I am studying with will put things into a new perspective that maybe I have never thought of. By doing so, this tends to help me better understand the test material. I just have to make sure that the study group is serious and really striving to prepare for the exam; otherwise, the study group would not be very beneficial and I would be better off studying on my own.

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  6. I feel as if for me i preform better when I study by myself. I tend to get distracted when I study in groups which is counterproductive for me. I learn best by repeating the material over and over which does not work very well in a group atmosphere. I have had some group experience in High School and it wasn't my favorite. The only subject that group studying works for me is in math. This seems to help me because I get to see a different technique for a problem which seems to help.

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  7. Despite the difficulties in forming a group and finding feasible times to meet, I find that I always study better in groups. The main advantage for me personally is the accountability factor. If the group is expecting me to do my part in research, and attend meetings, I better prioritize my time to accomplish those goals. Having classmates check with me on homework criteria and how projects are going generally keeps me on task and on track.

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  8. The many times I have studied in a group, my test scores have proven to be better than when I study alone. To tell the truth, I just get too lazy to study in groups because there is a high possibility that everyone else in the group will play around. With this being my 2nd year in college now, I have learned how to study both in a group and alone. Although, my test scores are higher when I study in a group, I prefer to study alone so I can do it whenever I want too.

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  9. I have never been in a study group my whole life. Truthfully, I didn't need to be in one for high school: the material wasn't that hard. If I had been in one, the people in it probably wouldn't have taken it seriously anyway, being immature high school students and all. I study best when I'm by myself on my own time. All I have to do get myself in the mindset that I WILL conquer this material and be ready for the exam. It's all will power. Study now and feel confident that you know it-then you can be lazy later.

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  10. study groups can be very helpful to studying for exams. getting to hear different people say the things we need to learn/remember is always easier to remember than when yourself is just reading it or whatever. that being said if the group is there to only socialize you wont get anything done. so make sure if you are going into a study group that the people in the group are serious about studying and making good grades.

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  11. Personaly I have tried a study group before an exam. To be honest with you study groups only work if every one in the group wants actually be there to strictly study. The study group I was in at one point was simply a group of clowns and we never got anything done, so therefore we didn't do too well on our exams. I have found that finding a study buddy works better because it is easier for both of you to get on the same page in regards to the material that you want to cover. When I have a study buddy I have found that my grades on exams greatly improve!

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  12. In the past my study groups for exams were either a hit or miss. It seemed that the more people in the group the easier it was for us to get distracted and off topic. This was different when there was a group of 3. It was easier for us to engage in conversation about the topic and bounce ideas around without making things confusing. It was interesting because we would comprehend the material differently which made it easier to explain to one another and answer questions. I personally like study groups and they seem to work really well for me. It really just depends on the people and the subject. But I also believe sometimes studying alone does have an advantage.

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  13. I don't believe I have ever been apart of a study group, at least not for some major test or anything of that sort. But personally I don't think it would be very successful, especially among people of whom you are familiar with. Because it's most likely that you will get distracted and off topic throughout the whole session. My own method of studying though is usually in a quiet, peaceful environment. It works best for me.

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  14. I think study groups are great especially if it's with friends who are serious about getting things done and really WANT to study, not just sit there and gossip or talk the whole time. I've had that happened to me all the time back in high school and I realized that that really wasn't getting us anywhere. Now in college, its definitely different since I study with my friends all the time and we actually get our stuff done. Yes we take little breaks here and there but we all know when to get down to business and other things can wait. I suggest choosing who to study wisely bc not ALL of my friends are great study buddies some will just sit around and not get anything done causing you to do the same. I'm actually at one right now, its midnight and we're all sitting around at willis each separately doing our own thing and "studying". Having them here actually will make me do work, if i was on my own i wouldn't want to do as much..all in all i think study groups are great and very effective. (:

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  15. I can think of multiple times that i have attempted to do a study group for a exam, and sometimes it turned out good and other times it didn't. If I was studying with friends or people that I hung out with on a regular basis like my teammates etc, then we would not get anything done, and if we did then we wouldn't be able to retain what we studied for. But if I studied with people from my class, on a particular subject then it always worked out good. We would accomplish a lot and then as a reward we would go grab pizza or something.
    There are many positives and negaitves to studying in a group, the positives are that you get to interact with people in your class, make new friends, and if someone knows more on a specific thing and your not quite sure about then they can help explain it to you. Some of the negatives are that you may not get as much done, and you may be distracted and not retain any information as well.
    Somethings that I use is i may only study with one other person that maybe either knows what they are talking about or some one that i feel comfortable with that can help me but also we can have a good time.
    My take on learning is definitely interacting but when it comes to studying for an important exam i prefer to do it alone or with one other person, that i know from the class.

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  16. So, I have personally always had a love/hate relationship with study groups. If I form study groups with like people I am super super close with it turns more into a social hour than it does studying. Like required study hours for Greek life always normally turns into a talk sesh.

    What I have learned is that study groups can be wonderful things if you do them the right way. Find people in your class that learn the same way as you do so that through the process you both are getting something out of it. TURN ALL TECHNOLOGY OFF. Haha. So I am pretty much ALWAYS in my phone unless I find someone to hide it from me. During finals I always get a friend to change my password to facebook so that I stay off of it.

    Also, take breaks. Overdoing it can hurt you. So set an hour at a time. Or whatever works for you.

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  17. I've never actually been in a "study group" like the post is describing my entire life. I don't care much for groups because I tend to either dominate the group or not participate at all. I also never study, repetition is the only other way I'm aware of learning something if you didn't memorize it the first time you learned. The only usefulness of a study group that I can see is if I do not know something and I need to ask or we are studying some sort of abstract concept that requires other opinions and perspectives on the subject matter.

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  18. For me, this is how study groups usually go - you get there, everyone talks for ten minutes, studying happens for about twenty minutes, and then everyone's over it. This can probably be attributed to the fact that I usually only do study groups with my friends. Camaraderie is always a good thing in study groups, but with me, social learning just turns into social time. It's great learning with other people, but to eliminate the chit-chat factor, I try to do study groups now with people that are serious about studying. Get together, learn, leave. If study groups aren't really your thing, then I think that studying alone is perfectly okay. It doesn't mean you're a loner, or anti-social. It just means you're serious about studying. My suggestion though is to take breaks every now and then to not go crazy. In my opinion, group-oriented learning is best suited for a classroom - middle school, high school, college, etc. More attention is brought to students about others around them, so I think it's perfectly okay to study alone if the group learning process is not particularly affective in the classroom.

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  19. Study groups can be really helpful for me, but i feel like we always end up making it more of a social thing than an actual study session. Its hard to focus with everyone and there is always another side conversation going on and it takes time to just get in the studying part of the study group. I would rather study alone because i can focus but for some people study group really helps.

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  20. 1. Have you ever tried a study group for an exam? YES
    How did it go? Crappy.
    2. What are the positive and negatives associated with a study group? People talk about themselves and not the work. Facebook becomes more important then the midterm tomorrow. I've never had a positive with a study group.
    How do you mediate the negatives? I just studied on my own after I left.
    3. Do you have any other exam studying tips that you would like to share?
    4. What is your take on learning? Never works in groups someone always does more work then others
    How does it occur? Very unfortunately
    Is it solitary, collaborative? Solitary
    What is the role of traditional schooling (grade school, high school, college) in the learning process? All screwed up. Information is changed every day its hard to keep up with anything any more.

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  21. The first day of class I generally try and find a person in class to exchange numbers with, so it would be easier to form a study group in the future. Study groups are a big help to me because it allows the topic to be discussed, and broken down which helps me learn something that I might not understand in class. There are also negatives to study groups such as, people not staying on task, and the group ends up wasting time talking about the weekend rather than studying. I think that study groups are most effective when it is just two people because there are less distractions, and it's easier to stay on task.

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  22. Study groups can go both ways. Sometimes they can be helpful. They can help you get focused and it's good to have other people be able to hold you accountable to studying. However, sometimes when i'm in a study group with my friends, it becomes more of a social thing. Also, sometimes when i know i have a study group later, I use that i as an excuse not to do any studying on my own. And then if the study group wasn't successful, I haven't done any preparing for the exam. I think that study groups are best use when they are reinforcing the studying that you've done on your own.

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  23. It definitely depends on the people in the study group and how serious they are about studying. Generally, if they aren't serious about studying, I tend to slack off as well and it becomes a social gathering. If they are, then yes, it can be most helpful. I have found, for me personally, that I do best studying alone, but with others around me that I can ask a question of, if needed. But we are all working on our own stuff.

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  24. I HATE study groups. They force me to wait till the last day to study with a group, then teach the slackers. There are also people there that are just trying to get a girl's number or just trying to cram and make that C so it's hard to find people with the same motivation. For me, learning is an active process. It doesn't just come through note cards or repetitive questioning, but through active use of concepts. I try to review a little bit daily and then use what I learn in my life and constantly think about what I have learned and how it is applicable. Study groups just make me feel like I am high school again and regurgitating information. Blagh

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  25. I love study groups and for people not to create them is hurting themselves. Studying alone is extremely difficult, if everytime i had a test and had a team of people to split the info amongst I would do 20 times better. This works by everyone doing note cards for there own section and than teaching everyone else there section using the note cards. By doing this the person teaching is gaining more knowledge about there section and each person is not already drained after inhalling all the info at once.

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