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You know the saying, “Two heads are better than one?” Wondering why it applies to your life as a student? As students, there is so much you have to deal with – tracking deadlines, memorizing rules, completing assignments, studying for tests, and a whole lot more. If you happen to be an adult learner, then you have much more to deal with (trust me, I know the feeling) – family (if you have one), work, work-related travelling etc., and that is not easy to combine with school. Sometimes, we find ourselves studying in isolation because we are so busy, or we don’t know how to approach someone to ask them to be a study partner, or we can’t find any good reasons why we should have a study partner.
If you believe you are too busy to have a study partner, remember you don’t have to meet with your study partner weekly. You can only meet with your study partner as and when both of you need it. Meet with your study partner if you have a major assignment or paper coming up, and you want to bounce ideas off of each other, or if you have a test or exam coming up and you want to share tips on how to study or discuss concepts you find difficult.
Are you struggling with how to approach someone to ask them if they want to be your study partner? Here are some tips:
- wait a week or two after class starts to get comfortable with your classmates
- send an email to a few students asking them if they want to study together, you will be surprised how many responses you will receive (other people want study partners too).
Are you someone who believes that they don’t need a study partner? Think about a study partner as a class buddy, someone you can have a quick chat with about any frustrations in the class or someone you can bounce ideas off of. Sometimes your study partner might approach a problem from a different angle that will make understanding a concept easier.
These tips all seem great if you are only taking classes face-to-face right? WRONG! You can have a study partner or join a study group if you are taking classes online too. I know it’s easier if you and your study partner (or group) live in the same city, but if you don’t, you can work your way around the distance issue.
During the first week of class, be active on the introduction thread. After you post your original introduction thread, be sure to comment on other students’ posts. Ask them questions, get ‘chatty’, it will help you get to know them better. After a week or two, when everyone has settled into a routine in the class, send an email to a few students asking them if they want to be study partners. Once again, you will be surprised at the responses you will receive. Once you find your online study partner(s), you can try online collaboration tools such as skype to meet in real time. If you decide to use skype, make sure you have a whiteboard in your space to discuss questions or make notes. I purchased the whiteboard below from amazon, and installed it on the wall in my home office. I use it to take notes or show steps to a problem if I am discussing math with someone over skype, schedule appointments, or create a to-do list.
If you prefer an online whiteboard, try Scribblar. I’ve used Scribblar many times with my students for online office hours.
Do you plan to meet an online study partner in person?
- Be sure to meet in a public place (library or coffee shop).
- Let someone know where you are and who you are meeting with.
- Keep communication professional, and be safe.
Study partners are a great part of a student’s academic career. However you choose to approach obtaining a study partner, be sure to make the best out of every situation. Some study partners may turn into lifelong friendships and professional networks. Have you ever had a study partner? What was your experience? Share with us in the comment section.
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