The deeper I get into college, the harder the classes get. No more freshman seminar courses to hold my hand as I make my way towards my degree.
Over the years, I have come to realize that if I want to get a good grade on an exam--- I have to study. Some people are natural born learners. All it takes is a quick read over the chapter and somehow they have absorbed all the information. For me, it takes five or ten reads over the chapter, note cards, and the review questions. Even then, sometimes I fall short.
When it comes to preparing for a test, I am willing to try every trick in the book-even study groups. Usually, I fly solo when it comes to school. Group projects and team work really aren't my thing. Its not that I'm anti-social, I just prefer to rely on myself; especially when it comes to my grades.
Regardless of my usual habits, study groups have shown to be my most effective way of retaining information.
This week, my Probs and Stats class had our third test of the year. Each test has gotten gradually more and more challenging because Math builds on itself. We not only have to remember the formulas from chapters 6, 7 and 8, but the ones from chapters 1 through 5 as well.
A few of my fellow classmates and I decided that getting together the night before the test, might be our best bet. Northern rents out rooms at the top of the library for groups to gather and chat about their homework. It's the perfect solution so other students aren't bothered by the noise.
Five Intro the Probability and Statistic students all sitting around the table with one goal in mind-to ace this test. Its true that we may not be friends outside the classroom, but that didn't matter. That night, we were all going to listen to each other and learn from each other.
We started with the review questions from each chapter. Silently each of us would work on a problem and then compare our work with the person sitting next to each other. If someone's answer was a little bit off, we would glance at our work and show them where they went wrong.
When a problem came up that we didn't know how to solve, we would each chime in with the information we knew. Like finding pieces to the puzzle. "Well, I know we have to start off with this formula." Some one would say. "But don't forget we have to subtract .5 at the end." Another student would say.
One by one, we found where we went wrong . Each of us has what the other was looking for, a little piece to the puzzle or in this case, the Math Problem.
That's the great thing about a classroom. You can look around all of the desks and not know a soul. But at the end of the semester, there is know doubt that you will have made one friend. Because even though you may not all like the same sports team, or listen to the same music, in that classroom you all have something in common:
The desire to ace the next test.
Editor's note: Chelsey Roath is a student at Northern Michigan University. Her biweekly column on college life in Marquette runs on Sundays. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.