5 Tips for Studying With Your Roommates
Your plan worked! You and your roommate(s) have successfully signed up for the same classes. You start dreaming of sitting by each other in class, sharing notes, and pushing through nights in the library together. Stop there. Yes, studying with roommates can be a dream, but it can easily turn into a nightmare. Here are a few steps you should take to ensure successful studying.
1. Discuss your study styles
Before you get started studying with your roommate, you should have a discussion about how you already like to study. Just because you and your roommate may have similar personalities or living styles doesn’t mean that you will have the same study style. There are lots of different questions you should discuss with each other such as, do you like to study at home or somewhere else, do you like quiet or background noise, do you like to take frequent breaks or push through, do you prefer reading or taking notes? If you have some differences in answers, that doesn’t mean that you can’t study together at all. You may still be able to work on some specific things but leave general studying to be done on your own. Whatever you figure out, just make sure it should work for all people involved, not just one.
2. Coordinate times and make a schedule
If you think that your roommates will be able to sit down whenever and study together, you’re probably wrong. Without a dedicated time and place, it is unlikely that the studying time will actually happen. You all should think about when you like to study, whether it be in the morning, during the day, or at night. You should also think about when you are likely to be the least busy. Obviously, you won’t want to plan to study while one of you is at work or in class. You should probably also avoid social-heavy nights like Fridays and Saturdays (unless you know that you’ll be staying in).
Once you have figured out what will probably work best, put it in your calendars! Make it something that you have scheduled so that you neither of you will plan things over it. Depending on how much time you want to put it, you could make it a weekly occurrence.
3. Act as the teacher
One of the best ways to learn something is to try to teach it to someone else. If you’re really familiar with a topic, or even kind of struggling with it, offer to act as the teacher and try to teach it to them. You can utilize homework examples to illustrate a certain method. You could have your “student” write out their steps to getting an answer. Have fun with it! Trying out different methods of learning almost always helps someone understand the concept better than they did originally.
You can try this with a concept you’re really familiar with in order to solidify your understanding of it. You could also try it out with a concept you aren’t that confident in to try and tease out where you are lacking knowledge.
4. Get creative
When you think of studying, are you thinking about sitting quietly in a library? Maybe someone next to you has a cup of coffee to get through the session. Not all study sessions have to be this way! Having a roommate, or multiple roommates, to study with is a great time to get creative with your studying time. You can try out lots of different things from quizzing each other to making Jeopardy-style games, to reading aloud, to making up songs to help remember things. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to remember something when you came up with a creative way to study, plus, it's way more fun!
5. Be honest with each other
When it comes to academics, we all want to feel good about ourselves. However, when you’re directly comparing your grade to someone else’s, it can be difficult. You may want to act like you know everything when in reality, you’re struggling.
When studying with your roommates, or anyone really, you should be candid about what you do and don’t understand. Saying that you get something when you don’t doesn’t help you in the long run. You’re missing out on a chance to really learn something and potentially do better overall. It might feel embarrassing to ask for help on a certain topic or chapter, but in the end, it is usually worth it.
Studying with roommates can be seriously rewarding, resulting in quality time and even better grades. Make sure that you’re always honest when something isn’t working, and try your best to communicate and help each other. Remember that your friendship comes first and no prospect of a better grade should come between that.
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