It has been 18 years since I first started University but sitting here in the foyer of the library very little seems to have changed. Yes there are more people with laptops and mobile phones (I had one of the legendary brick phones when I started University), there is Wi-Fi and Mobile Recharging Stations and lots more Computers and areas to study in but essentially studying and students are still the same. There are the loners eagerly tapping away on their computers, groups of students equally eagerly chatting about whatever the latest subject of conversation is and then other groups of students with their heads together trying to study.
That aspect of studying has not changed. There is still the quandary of whether it is better to study in a group or alone. Do you stay less distracted in a group or by yourself? Well that ultimately depends on the group and how close you are to the end of semester. The night before the exam a group gets very dedicated trying to cram every possible piece of information into their heads. In the second week it is a lot more relaxed and no matter how dedicated the group it is likely that they will get distracted at some point.
So how should you approach it? And how do you stop yourself from getting distracted? In my view the best way to have an agenda for each session and a timetable for each topic of discussion. That is, we are going to look at the week two material and discuss topics A, B, and C for a total of 20 minutes each. Because you know you only have twenty minutes each you are more likely to stay on topic for the entire session. However, do expect at some point there will be some distractions but that’s ok if you achieve the majority of your group’s goals. And remember a weekly session that is 75% effective is far better than a last ditch session that is 99% effective.by