A message from study buddies
As we have mentioned before, we, the contributors of this website, met each other in study groups. We enjoyed studying together and realized we learn better as a group, so we continued to do it throughout our undergraduate years. This past month, as we are starting a new semester, we wanted to share our experiences with you all with the hopes that we may help other students. And this final post of this study series is a summary of all that has been mentioned:
The most important thing to consider is active versus passive learning. Listening, reading, and highlighting important sections is necessary. However, talking, explaining things, answering questions, and drawing diagrams are more beneficial. The more active you are in your learning, the more pathways are used in your brain, the stronger the information is saved. Information concretely saved is easier to retrieve later on.
There are many ways to interact with content. Some popular and easy platforms for this include Kahoot.com and Quizlet.com. These are the ones we happened to use. Not only do they allow group engagement, but you can also find some ready to use question sets prepared by other students. That can be a time saver. Beware, if you are using a set that somebody else prepared though, they can contain errors. Also, preparing your own questions is a great way to learn. Even it can take longer, it is more beneficial in terms of learning.
Other than the ones mentioned, the main tool we have used as study group partners was something we didn't expect it to be: Spreadsheet! Every week in the study group, someone would prepare questions and answers on the weekly topic for the course. Using an Excel or Google spreadsheet document, we would randomize the questions and attempt to answer them together. Not only would we collectively discuss with each other, but we could hold each other accountable for staying on top of the content. We were unlikely to blow off school work if we knew our friends were counting on us. Plus, if the stress got to be too much, there was always a compassionate friend to step in and help out.
As fairly independent women, who achieved success well before our paths crossed, it was an adjustment to become immersed in study groups. Suddenly instead of cramming and memorizing, it was interacting with others and adopting each other's studying styles. It was life-changing! Not only did it make learning way more enjoyable, but the interactive component improved all of our grades. You know what they say, you haven't mastered a subject until you can teach it to others. We found our groove. You'll find yours too.
There are many different ways of studying. Some people are better with visual cues, and some prefer audio. Don't be afraid to try out different techniques. The fact that one approach works for you for one course does not mean it will work for every other course.
The way you study has obvious impacts on your academic success, but it is important to acknowledge other ways to be successful and be the best student you can be. Body, mind, and mental health go together. Having a healthy lifestyle, proper diet, routine exercise, quality sleep, and minimal stress in your life will lead to both physical and mental health. Committing all of your time to study may not be as beneficial as you think. A balanced lifestyle will contribute to a healthier brain and body, making academic success that much easier.
Last but not least: grades are not everything, and they do not define you. It is good to have goals and work hard to reach them. But in the end, life is full of obstacles, and we have only one life to live. Balance is more important than being at the top of your class and getting a diploma from the best university in the country. Failing a task does not make anyone a failure. The best way to learn is to fail, so don't be afraid to try hard things. It will be so worth it in the end. Ultimately, we hope you choose a path you enjoy because creating an exciting attachment to your work will make your life easier and more productive.
- Much love from the neurds!