Biology C2006 / F2402 - Spring 2014    Study Groups

Interested in Forming a Study Group?  Don't know who to ask?  Ask the people who usually sit near you, or go to the Piazza site for the course and find like-minded students. There is a link to the Piazza course site on the CW left menu for registered students. Or go to

We have not yet figured out whether we will be able to provide facilitators for study groups. If you already have a functioning group, we encourage you to continue. If you don't have a group, we strongly encourage you to form one, using personal contacts or Piazza. We think study groups, facilitated or not, are usually very helpful, as long as the group focuses on studying and not on socializing. Some people prefer to study in pairs; some in larger groups. In most cases, it is very valuable to have others to bounce your ideas off of -- both to give you a chance to explain, and to give you a chance to learn from others. Being forced to formulate & articulate your ideas is very useful, whether you are doing it to convince someone else, or trying to explain what you don't understand.

Some ideas for things to try in your study group:

1. Compare notes on that week's lectures. The sooner you do this after the lecture, the better. 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. If there is an example, ask yourselves, "What is the point?" If there is a principle, ask yourselves "Do we know a good example?"

2. Go over the study questions, old exam questions and/or recitation questions. Force yourselves to explain the answers to each other without using pronouns. Don't use "it." Say "microtubule" or "microfilament" or "tubulin." That way you are sure you all know what "it" is.

3. Give each other sample questions or quizzes -- take turns making up a question or two for the others to practice on.

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.)

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.