PASS (Peer-Assisted Study Sessions) is a student mentoring scheme in which second and third year undergraduate students run study sessions for first year students. The scheme helps new undergraduates make the transition to the more independent style of study expected at university, and to help them gain a solid grasp of the important foundational material covered during the first year. Students are sometimes reluctant to take their questions directly to lecturing staff, especially if the questions relate to very basic material. PASS sessions provide an opportunity for students to seek help and advice from fellow students who have faced the same problems themselves.
In Computer Science, the first year of study is particularly important as it is at this time that students gain the basic programming and problem solving skills that underpin the rest of the degree course. Because of this, our PASS scheme focuses on providing help with programming skills, in a way that complements the staff-led lectures, lab classes and example classes.
Of course, first year students are not the only ones who benefit from PASS. The second and third year students who run the study sessions also gain an opportunity to strengthen their own understanding of programming concepts, as well as their leadership and team-working skills. And, of course, running a PASS group is something that looks good on your CV.