It’s been a while since schools closed down and you’ve been studying at home. Studying by yourself all day long can get a bit lonely and tedious but with Internet access, it’s possible to study with your friends. You can do this by setting up a virtual study group. Below are some ideas on how to make it work.
What platform to use?
There are a few options out there so it’s up to yourself to figure out which works best for you and your friends. Skype and Zoom would be the popular choices which can be downloaded to your computer or accessed online. The best thing about these is that you can share your screen with the rest of the group. If you have any notes or you’ve been working on a presentation, you can easily show it to your friends. If you do not have access to these you can also use FaceTime or WhatsApp.
How to organise a meeting?
Have an agenda for your meeting and agree beforehand what way you want to structure your study group. There are several approaches that work better for different subjects and different needs. It is best to keep your study group small, around three or four people is best.
The first step in organising a group meeting is to pick a topic. For theory based subjects or ones that require essay-style answers, like History or Geography, choose a few sections within this topic and split it between the group. Each person can then prepare notes on their section and maybe do some research. During the meeting, everyone presents their sections to the rest of the group, shows them their notes and explains what they learned.
For less theoretical subjects that require calculations, everyone should play up to their strengths. For example, if you choose to go with Maths and one of you is best at geometry, let that person tell you about their approach to exam questions. Do a question together as they talk you through it.
For subjects such as English that ask for your opinion, have an open discussion. Prepare a few questions for the group beforehand based on themes or characters. Let everyone express their opinions. Make sure that with every statement you and your friends make, you can back it up with reference to the text.
How to stay on topic?
Keeping focused during a virtual study group can be a challenge since you haven’t seen your friends for a while. However, it is important to not get distracted for a virtual study group to work. A possible way to keep everyone motivated is to keep a behaviour tally. Whenever one of you strays off topic, they will get marked down. You could keep a ‘distraction jar’ and whenever someone gets marked they have to donate 50 or 25 cents to the jar.
A good idea is to set aside some time afterwards or at the weekend to have a non-study related chat. That way you will know that once you get through your study, you can have some fun with your friends. That will keep you more focused during the time designated for revision.