I've never been one to partake in study groups, but a few of us decided to throw something formal-ish together in order to study for our comprehensive exams in the fall (or the spring, if we fail them in the fall). There are five of us, and we've all had classes together at some point in the last year, and there are other things we have in common such as mututal intense dislike (or like) of certain profs, and a general disdain for people. Yeah, in the elevator on the way to our study room at the library, we all remarked how much we don't like people...in this case people who are loud and disruptive in libraries or classrooms. Then we figured that a group of people who don't like people is definitely the best group to join.
Anyway, we had our first study session on Tuesday, and I dare say we had a blast. Being ultra-organized and geeky people, some of us had independently rearranged the MA reading list into a timeline rather than genre groupings, because after all the exam is based on a timeline (part I is classical to 1800, part II is 1800 to present) rather than a genre, and we all knew the genres associated with each author. We also pre-determined the works to read for each author, just so it would be on the list (the reading list is one of those "read something by Hardy, something by James" etc rather than specific texts).
So we started at the beginning, and we started with something small so we could figure out how we were going to structure the sessions—general discussion, then pulling out references to such works from previous exam questions and answering those questions together, then thinking about other kinds of questions about the works might be on the exams. After two hours of discussing the Iliad
and the Odyssey
, and figuring out what we'd read for next time (one work each by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes, and the Aeneid
) we adjourned to a nearby P.F. Chang's for food, drink, and much talk about faculty and students. It was awesome
We plan to kick the ass of the comprehensive exams.