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Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)

Students in the Central Library

What is PASS?

Peer-Assisted Study Sessions or PASS support student success through weekly 50-minute interactive study groups. These groups are facilitated by 2nd- or 3rd-year students (known as PASS facilitators), who were successful in first year and have knowledge of the course content.

At PASS, you work with your peers on subject-related problems / questions to help you better understand the course material, while also developing the study skills you need to do well at university. In other words, PASS integrates the course or paper content (what to learn) with academic reasoning and study skills (how to learn).

PASS runs from week 2 to week 13 of both semesters, allowing you to regularly revise the course material in a social, collaborative, and interactive environment.

All PASS facilitator positions for 2020 have been allocated, registrations for 2021 will open in August.

Register for a PASS session

PLEASE NOTE: In light of the COVID-19 situation, PASS is looking at the possibility of running online sessions via Zoom. All students registered in PASS will receive an email with details about PASS by Friday, 27th March 2020 or before. Please contact Student Learning Development, if you have any further questions. Email

Why should I register for PASS?

A recent review of 29 PASS programmes in Australasia (Dawson, van der Meer, Skalicky and Cowley, 2014) found that:

  • Students who attended 8 or more sessions of PASS had a higher final grade, compared to students who attended no sessions
  • Students who attended PASS sessions reported greater satisfaction with their knowledge and improved confidence in applying their knowledge in new situations
  • Students reported that PASS had helped to develop their sense of belonging and retention in their various institutions

Here’s what some students have said about the PASS programme at Otago:

“The groups helped me to think about the content in new ways, helped me to understand it better and remember it better too. I especially liked the discussions of the answers as a group because other people would bring in ideas I’d missed and we were able to help each other rather than sit and struggle on our own.”

“The PASS group that I participated in last year helped me to form a better understanding of the course material and allowed me to discuss the topics with like-minded students who wanted to get the most out of their academic experience. The facilitator was excellent – they enabled us to work in a safe space that respected our differing abilities and viewpoints. I would recommend the PASS program to any student and believe it enabled me to become one of the top achievers in the subject. Everyone should take advantage of this wonderful resource.”

“(PASS)… helps you get a deeper understanding when you work through problems with peers.”

Register for a PASS session

Register for a PASS session

The PASS timetable and registrations are available from Thursday of week 1 of each semester.

PASS is offered for the following papers:

Semester One papers

  • BSNS 111, 112, 113, 114, 115
  • CELS 191
  • CHEM 191
  • CLAS 109
  • EAOS 111
  • ECOL 111
  • ENGL 121
  • FINC 102
  • GEOG 101
  • GEOL 251
  • HUBS 191
  • MART 112
  • MATH 160
  • PHSI 191
  • PSYC 111
  • STAT 110

Semester Two papers

  • BIOC 192
  • BSNS 111, 112, 113, 114, 115
  • CLAS 105
  • ENGL 127
  • FINC 102
  • GEOG 102
  • GEOL 112
  • HIST 102, 108
  • HUBS 192
  • MARI 112
  • MATH 160
  • MANT 101
  • MART 112
  • PHSL 101
  • PSYC 112
  • PUBH 192
  • SOCI 102, 103
  • STAT 115

Full-year papers

  • LAWS 101

PASS information for staff (PDF)

If you would like to see a PASS session run for a paper that is not yet offered, contact Student Learning Development reception to express your interest.

Tel +64 3 479 8801
Freephone 0800 808 098

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