W1015 '11 -- Information For Study Groups

You are strongly encouraged to form a study group. Talking with other students about the material can greatly increase your understanding (and improve your grade). The suggestions below are for all study groups. The rules at the end are for official study groups. (If you cannot attend recitation, and you follow the rules, as explained below, you can get a grade for your participation in a study group instead of a recitation grade.) However, even if you attend recitation regularly, forming a study group is highly recommended. The suggestions below should help you get the most out of your study group meetings.

Recommended things to do in your study group:

1. Compare notes on that week's lectures. Don't recopy -- just fix up the parts that weren't clear. Fill in any details you missed and be sure you understand the major points of each lecture.

2. Go over the study questions. It's not enough to know the answers -- you have to know the reasoning behind the solutions.  So discuss both the answers and the reasoning behind them.

3. When you are finished going over the notes and study questions, make a list of any remaining unanswered questions.  (Figuring out what you don't know can be very helpful. You can't ask the TA's or Dr. M until you know what the question is.) Once you have formulated your questions, look them up or ask your TA (or Dr. M).

4. Make summary charts and diagrams and/or other study aids. ("Make/Share/Compare")

5. Make a vocabulary list of all new terms for the week and check that you know the meaning and significance of all of them. (Don't waste time writing out definitions of all the terms -- spend your time on the terms that are unclear.)

3. Once you think you understand the material, make up some study questions of your own. Give each other sample questions or quizzes -- you can take turns bringing in a question or two for the others to practice on.

6. Remember to take turns writing the log if this is an official study group (see below).

7. Read and discuss the latest relevant science news from the popular press. Good sources are the Tues. Science section from the N.Y Times, Time, Newsday, Scientific American, etc.

Can't manage to form a study group? Still prefer to study by yourself? In that case, try all the ideas above but try to explain to yourself as clearly & thoroughly as if you were explaining to a fellow student.

Rules & Regulations For Official Study Groups

1. Each study group must meet regularly at least once per week. (You can miss an occasional week due to holidays, etc., but meetings must occur regularly at a scheduled time.) Each person who attends the weekly meeting will receive equal credit for that meeting (if a satisfactory group report is filed; see below).

2. The group must keep a log of what's covered each meeting. The log should include the date, the names of all present, and what problems & topics are discussed. The log should be 1-2 pages -- it can be quite informal in style. It should not be a copy of the class notes or a complete study guide. (A study guide is great, but keep it for yourselves to study from.) The participants are expected to take turns writing the log. The weekly log entry should be signed by all present, and it must be turned in by the Monday of the following week to Dr. Mowshowitz. (Put it in Metal Mail Box #2453 on 7th floor of Fairchild or hand it directly to Dr. M. Email is ok too.) NO LATE REPORTS ACCEPTED!

3. Every log/report should include at least one question that the group could not answer. Formulating the questions should help you focus on what you need to clarify and tell us what we have to explain better next time. The log will be returned ASAP (hopefully within a week) with answers to the questions. Of course, you don't have to wait a week to get your answers -- one or all of the group members can go to the TA or instructor during office hours or email Dr. M (dbm2) to get faster answers. (We strongly recommend that one member of the group see Dr. M or a TA once a week. If Dr. M's office hrs. are not suitable, another time can be arranged.) Be sure to pick up your corrected reports from Dr. M so you can be sure you are doing the right thing.

4. The instructor or a TA will read each group report/log entry carefully and give the report a grade -- the scale will probably be check, check plus or check minus. Good grades will be awarded if it it is clear that the group is making a serious effort. (Great literature is not expected -- just be sure your report is clear.) If the report indicates that the group is just fooling around, inferior grades will be awarded. The grade in study group will depend on the quality and regularity of the reports.

Last update 07/25/2011