By Vlad Mackevic

Time flies and exams are getting closer each day. Why, you don’t even know where the first term has gone! This is the time when you really want to follow the advice printed in large letters on the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (in case you don’t know, it says DON’T PANIC).

And I know it’s hard but this is what you should do: don’t panic. There are two reasons why you should stay calm:

The bad one: panicking will only make matters worse and decrease your chances of doing well.

And the Good One: you are not alone.

Well, that’s more like it! The fact that you are in university means one simple thing: there are other people who are in the same boat with you. And since you’re all going to sit that exam, why not study together?

There are five reasons why you should organise a study group:

1. It will help you memorise the topic better if you tell others about it.

Reading does not help as much as talking does. If you talk about a subject and explain it to others, the ideas of the subject will become more logically structured in your head and you will retain it better.

2. You can divide the learning tasks between the members of the group

You don’t have to learn everything on your own – just distribute the tasks between the members – I prepare lectures 1 to 3, you prepare lectures 4 to 6, etc. Then share the materials by photocopying or presenting it and taking notes.

PS: Just make sure you have reliable people in your group who really will prepare the materials!

Your study group can look like this…

…or like this!

3. You will be more disciplined in a group.

I’ve been there and done that. When I study alone, I tend to take snack breaks, watch something on the internet for a change, take another break, and another one… and I end up procrastinating.

However, when I am in a group and we agree that we study (even if we’re not presenting anything, but just silently reading together) I am more focused and less likely to procrastinate.

4. You will exercise your teamwork and management skills

It might not seem to obvious for you, but your experience in a study group can turn into a great point on your CV! If you successfully manage all the meetings, all the members and yourself, you can gain and develop some awesome skills that are indispensable for job-hunting – especially if you organise study groups for several subjects simultaneously.

And finally…

5. You are not in competition with your study buddies.

I know that university feels like a competitive place sometimes. Everybody wants the best grades, everybody wants the best jobs… I agree about the jobs, but think about it: how much competition is there regarding your grades? The number of first class degrees is not limited – you can all get great marks, what’s wrong with that?

So call/text/facebook/tweet your classmates, get together and nail that exam!

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P.S. This article is based on Vlad Mackevic’s book From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write a First-Class Essay. You can download sample chapters of the book for FREE by clicking here or by entering your email address below.

The book can also be purchased on Amazon.co.uk in paperback and Kindle eBook formats. If you do not own a Kindle reader, Amazon provides a range of FREE applications for your computer, Smartphone or Tablet.

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