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Take-Home Exams Advice: Study Groups

Tips and tricks for stress management when taking open-ended, take-home exams

Why Join a Study Group?

Compare notes with your classmate

Exposure to different ways of thinking

Avoid procrastination

Group motivation and accountability

Support system

Groups can make learning entertaining!

For further reading, see Thinking Outside the Box: Should You Start a Virtual Study Group?


How Should a Virtual Study Group Meet?

Choose a format that is easiest for all  members to navigate and which will have the smallest learning curve

Tips for Study Group Effectiveness

Virtual group study sessions with classmates can be a helpful way of studying.

Keep the group size small and manageable.

  • 4-6 members is a good size for a virtual study group.

Develop clear objectives and goals.

  • Define the purpose of your study group.  Reviewing major concepts?  Selt-testing?
  • Set a realistic schedule for how often and how long the group will meet.
  • Build in time at the beginning of each session to catch up and chat.

Stay organized and focused.

  • Pick a group leader to keep the group on track.
  • Try to start on time and end on time.

Stick to a plan.

  • Discuss with group members how the study group time will be used most effectively.
  • Create a schedule of tasks.  For example:
    • Spend an hour on practice questions, 20 min talking about big concepts, 45 min on a practice essay.
    • Assign specific topics and have each member instruct the group.

Be prepared.

  • Study ahead of time so group time can be used efficiently.
  • Identify concepts that you are struggling with and make a list of questions to ask group members.

Focusmate-Inspired Accountability Sessions

Many thanks to Professor Mangan, who adopted the model for law school accountability sessions.

  • Get together in a group of 2-5 students to meet at a specified time for an hour on Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, Skype, etc.
  • At the beginning of the session, each student sets a goal for what they would like to accomplish individually in that hour.
  • Once everyone has set their goal (e.g., read 15 pages, review notes, write a cover letter, etc.), everyone turns off their mics and cameras.
  • One student is designated as the timekeeper, and sets a timer for one hour.
  • When the timer goes off, the timekeeper asks everyone to turn on their mics and cameras. Each person shares what they were able to accomplish in the hour.
  • This method can be used in different time intervals to suit your availability.
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