School: Study buddy

You have spent hours trying to make some sense out of the numbers written in your math book but algebra is just not your cup of tea — at least that’s what you think. But it hasn’t been easy in history too, you just can’t seem to remember the names of the Mughal kings in the right order.

It seems you need some extra help. A tutor? Well maybe, but how about a friend who is a classmate and has to study all that you have to — a study buddy? But s/he is also as lost as you are, so you don’t think this is a good idea.

Well, it is an idea worth trying because, just like to negatives make a positive, two students studying at the same level can come together to study and help each other out with their difficulties and end up learning more than they would when studying on their own. Moreover, studying would not seem so boring and sharing a problem is the best way to finding its solution.

However, it should be clear that this is more suitable to students of secondary classes than primary ones because younger children will probably get more distracted when a friend is around and they need someone to teach them rather than study with them.

You may also need to study with others in your class, after school hours, when you have been asked to do a project that requires team work. So you may need to meet one or more of your classmates, once or a number of times, to get the project ready and submit it on time.

The most important thing that can lead to success in this study plan is to team up with someone who is as serious about studying as you are. However, you need not be at the same level in terms of performance in the class and tests, you just need to share the same aims and objective, have sincerity about the task at hand, respect for each other and absolutely no jealous feelings towards each other. If there is some sort of rivalry between study buddies, especially in terms of the marks they get, they will naturally not be sincere and fair with each other and rather than helping out, they may hinder the other’s academic progress. This is normal behaviour when the competition is healthy but if taken to extremes, excessive jealousy is bad — mostly for your own health!

Coming back to choosing the right study mate, make sure it’s a friend with whom you share some characteristics, but trying to study with your best friend is also not always a good idea for you two might just end up gossiping than studying. Isn’t it what you love to do most together?

Set up a time, with the approval of your parents, and make sure it is one that is convenient to both of you. Meeting everyday after school to study together is not the right way to go about it, you should study together once in a while, say on a weekend, when you have done some studying on your own, have covered much of the topics you need to do and now know the problem areas that you just need to go over together with each other.

And another thing to take care of is that if you are going to your friend’s house every time to study, you should also try and invite him or her to come over to your place for it too. And if your friend or a member of your study group is reluctant for some reason to keep a study session at their house, do not force them.

They may be having a good reason for it but may not be feeling comfortable disclosing it — like their parents many not want this at their home or there may be not enough peace and privacy in their home for you guys to study. Going to someone’s place or inviting someone over is only recommended when you and your parents know the family well, otherwise try and plan these study sessions in school, during free time or recess.

Plan and prepare beforehand what you are doing to study and focus on. You can assign each other different sections to study and prepare, and then share the notes when you meet. You will then be able to discuss the topic better without wasting time.

Once you have gone over a section or topic, you can ask each other questions about it to see how the other has understood it and it will also increase your own understanding of the topic. But if you don’t know something or have not well understood something that you people have already gone over, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t understand this”.

You will not appear stupid if you express your weaknesses or your inability to learn something. It is better to own up right now than to do badly in a test. There is no such thing as a stupid question, so don’t be afraid or shy about asking questions even in class. Those who will laugh at you won’t do so when you get good marks.

When studying in a group, or doing a project together, it is also important that you split the work evenly between everyone so that one person doesn’t feel upset at getting most of the burden with the others just getting the easy things to do. Like if you have to write a report on something, the most intelligent of the group will naturally be expected to do the research but each of the members should some research too and then get together and compile them. No one likes to feel used, so don’t make it seem that the hard worker is being made to do the hardest work while the others are just chatting away and seemingly having fun.

If you are studying in a group or with a friend, don’t become too dependent. Don’t wait to study only during your study sessions, or don’t depend on your study buddy to prepare the notes for you each time. This way you will not be fair to yourself or your buddy. Put in your best and sincere efforts and try and study solo too, otherwise if you only study when you sit with someone, you will not be able to accomplish much because there will not always be someone, or the right person, around all the time to get you into the ‘studying mood’.

So I hope you have a better idea of what it takes to study with a classmate or in a group and if you have to do it you will know how to go about it. Good luck with your studies!

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