Study Session-From the Other Side

In my Master's program, instead of a thesis, there is a comprehensive exam that you sit for during your final semester. Four essay questions on the different content areas in our 11 (or 12) courses of study. It is quite stressful, with every group of M.Ed candidates asking 'what happens if I get a question wrong?' in the exam group.

A few weeks ago, my major professor came to the three of us leading the student club for our program. His email asked who wanted to lead the study session for the Comps. My new boss, also an officer with me, begged off. No surprise, she hired other people besides me and is quite busy prepping and ordering our computers, etc. The other person didn't respond. At first, my thought was 'heck, no, I'm too busy'.

Then I pondered it a little more. Of the three of us, I'm the only one who actually took the comp (they're both doctoral students with me.) This means I can share personal experience with the test and prepping for it. Also, as a second semester student, I potentially can do this each semester for the students for four or five years. Finally, it'll look good when I'm looking for a professorship someday.

I set up a Doodle, polled the students taking the exams and had a pretty much even split between two online session times. Late last night, I prepped some PowerPoint slides and this morning, got online to work with students. I had no idea how long we'd take.

It was a little over four hours, and I feel it went very well. The students were encouraged to email me later, because we know that three or four days from know, a question will loom large, and hey, I may know where to point them for the answer. I enjoyed it.

Tomorrow, I'll be leading the second one. The dynamic will be very different, but that's the fun of these things for me-nothing is exactly the same. Especially for the students. Two told me they'd listened to the previous sessions (from three years ago) and found that the moderator got them started, then left. As I'd said to them about the exam itself "the goal is to see how much you synthesized from your time here, not to trip you up." The same goes for the study sessions.


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