How to Survive your Final Exam Study Group (4 Tips)
Now that AP exams are over, it’s time to focus on finals. College Prep students are pretty much exhausted at this point in the year and who can blame them? Students who are in their sophomore through senior years have been working on academics almost non-stop since January.
Most students will already be part of a study group (and if they aren’t they should form one ASAP) but at this point in the year many study groups focus more on complaining or distracting each other than they do on academics. However, there are a few ways students can keep their study group on track, survive the rest of the year, and still maintain friendships with the members of the group.
1. Keep everybody in the loop
It’s not advisable to text one person thinking that they’ll tell everybody else if there is a change in study plans. At this point of the year, it’s almost a guarantee that somebody will be accidentally forgotten or left out. This leaves a lot of time wasted explaining to a friend why they were not invited when that time is better spent on academics. Today’s social technology offers any number of ways for students to keep in touch. Google Hangouts and Snapchat are just two of many options.
2. Get organized and stay organized
With each member of the group mentally exhausted, organization is more important than ever. Each member should take turns dividing up tasks or at least keeping track of them. The organizer of the day can help break up different parts of the assignment or study, keep track of time, help the other members of the group avoid distractions and so on. Because the organizer will have additional mental fatigue at the end of the session, it’s important that the responsibility is rotated amongst each member of the group (READ: “How to Get an A Before the End of the Term”).
3. Break up tasks
If five students are studying five chapters, there’s no reason for every single person to read every word of every page. Study groups are advised to break up the amount of work and have each person quietly focus on their section and present it to the group. Because finals can be extremely stressful, it’s important that each person does their fair share to make it easier for the group as a whole. Five minds are better than one!
4. Follow up on your own
Friendships are often lost when one member of the group finds out another didn’t take high-quality notes. If students find out that they missed important information on the day of the exam, they will often be angry with a member of their study group and blame them for their lack of preparation. However, it’s important to understand that everybody is fatigued, and everybody will forget to write down essential information at some point. It’s also important for students to remember that, ultimately, they are responsible for their own work. Each member of the study group is encouraged to follow up on information from the study guide on their own or with their private tutor to figure out if anything is missing. It only takes 15 or 20 minutes to look through the class study guide, the bolded or highlighted terms in the textbook, or a self-made study guide. It’s definitely worth the time to make sure each and every concept was covered than to find out that major pieces of information are missing on test day (READ: “The Student’s Guide to Study Breaks”).
Students are encouraged to hang in there as best they can through the end of the academic year while still doing their best on exams. Study groups can be extremely effective and helpful, but stressed-out students will often forget important information or pick a fight with a friend over a misunderstanding. Students are encouraged to make their academics a priority but also understand that their friends and classmates are only human, and they will want to have their healthy and happy friendships intact at the end of June.