Session 1

Are you working towards an important exam? We're here to help with a series of videos that pick out some top tips for studying and taking exams.

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Exam skills: 6 tips about using study groups

Study groups help to share learning

We know that studying for an exam takes lots of effort – but being part of a study group means you can share your learning and not feel isolated.

Watch this video to find out six top tips to help you get the most out of study groups. Then test your understanding in our quiz.

[Images: Getty Images]

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We know that studying for an exam takes lots of effort – but being part of a study group means you can share your learning and not feel isolated. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of a study group…

Obviously the first thing you need to do is find a study group to join. These might already take place in college, but if you're studying alone you may have to search for one via noticeboards or online. The most important thing is to get one that's at the right level for you. You could test out some groups before you commit to one fully.  Find one where you feel comfortable to discuss your ideas, and where feel it is properly run.

A great thing about a study group is that you can learn from other students. You can ask questions and get a different perspective about a subject from your own. It can help you fill gaps in your knowledge too. But to do this you need to open your mind to other viewpoints and respect other opinions. Listen as well as speak!

It might seem obvious, but make sure everyone in the group communicates in English. This way, it'll help you improve your understanding of the language and highlight areas that need practice.  But don't worry about making mistakes, that's all part of it.

Study groups should take place regularly, but each time before you begin, you need to prepare. Agree with the rest of your group about the subjects or issues you want to discuss and materials you might need to use in the session. This will save time deciding on these things when you meet.

When your study group session begins, don't waste time chatting, stick to your goals - you will only have a set amount of time, so stay focussed and perhaps get someone to manage the session to keep you on track.

Finally, the benefit of a study group is learning together so make sure you and everyone else participates; don't be shy and speak up. This communal experience should be fun as well as educational - so enjoy it, make friends and see how together, your English improves.

Good luck!


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exam skills 15 thumbnail News Review Exercise tims_pron_29_YT.jpg ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here's a summary of our tips about learning from mistakes:

  1. Try out a study group to make sure it's right for you
  2. Listen and be open-minded
  3. Communicate in English
  4. Be prepared
  5. Stay focussed
  6. Make sure everyone takes part

To do

So what did you discover? Find out by taking our test…

How can you make make the most of your study group?

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In this BBC Learning English drama, English at University, new student Mary goes to Professor Not's evening seminar – that's when a group of students meet with their teacher to discuss what they've learnt.

Why not check out the rest of our Exam Skills series on our You Tube channel.

Have you got any tips about learning strategies and exam preparation that you can share with us? Please email them to us at with 'Exam Skills' in the subject line. We will post our favourites here and on our Facebook page. Please note that we can’t reply to individual emails, but we do read all of them.

End of Session 1

Next, join us for News Review, where we'll bring you key words and phrases from the latest stories and show you how to use it in your everyday English.

Session Vocabulary

  • commit
    agree or promise to do something

    way of thinking about something

    joint, doing something with other people