Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is an academic support scheme where trained PAL leaders work in small groups to facilitate regular study sessions with students in lower years. PAL leaders do not re-teach students or introduce new material; instead they help students to work collaboratively to reflect on course material, develop study skills and more. 

Find out more about becoming a PAL Leader

Academic PAL

How does PAL work?

PAL sessions are timetabled and if you are eligible to attend then you will see it on your timetable. Each PAL session will be led by at least two PAL leaders, competent students who are usually in the year above and have been trained in group facilitation techniques. Your leaders will not re-lecture or give you their class notes and they will not do your homework or your thinking for you. Their role is to help you think about your lectures and your course material, and then discuss it with the group to help you all become more comfortable with your course material.

PAL sessions are very informal and the style of them are different to lectures and seminars, although students should treat it in the same way as their other classes and be on time.

Check out our PAL leaflet for more information about PAL

What are the benefits of going to PAL sessions?

  • It helps new students adjust to higher education
  • Improves attendees ability to master course concepts by providing students with an opportunity to discuss or practice their subject in a safe place
  • Helps build confidence and self esteem
  • Develops enhanced study habits
  • Develop a sense of belonging & meet new people
  • Chance to make mistakes & have the confidence to ask lots of questions
  • Leaders provide a clear view of course direction and expectations
  • It's free

Find out more about PAL

Sophia's Story Ian's Story

Language PAL

How does Language PAL work?

Trained PAL leaders who are native (or near-native) speakers of English or of one of the languages taught at the Skills Centre (Foreign Languages), work to facilitate regular study groups of students.

These sessions provide opportunities for language students across disciplines and levels of study, to meet native speakers as well as fellow language students. A range of engaging activities are used to further develop language skills and intercultural knowledge.

Sessions are available in:

  • Arabic
  • Portuguese
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

What are the benefits of going to PAL sessions?

  • A great opportunity to practise speaking with both native and non-native speakers of the language outside the classroom
  • Increase your intercultural knowledge
  • Helps build confidence and self esteem
  • Develop a sense of belonging & meet new people
  • A chance to make mistakes in a safe environment & ask lots of questions
  • It's free

Read about the experiences of some Language PAL Leaders

From PAL to Postgraduate Officer PAL has been a great way to meet new people

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen in a PAL session?

PAL sessions typically involve different activities designed to get students working together, reflecting on course materials and developing effective study techniques. Check out our promotional video to see some PAL sessions in action.

How do I know if I have a PAL session?

You can check out our list of Academic PAL Schemes to see if your programme or unit has a PAL Scheme. PAL sessions will also be on your timetable. All students are welcome to attend Langauge PAL sessions as well to help develop their language skills. Check the FL PAL Timetable to see when our sessions are running.

Who leads the PAL sessions?

PAL sessions are led by students who have previously studied the unit or programme that the PAL scheme is attached to, usually the year before. They are given training and support to plan and facilitate effective sessions.

If you have attended PAL this year and would like to become a PAL Leader next year, applications will open towards the end of the academic year.

Find out more about becoming a PAL Leader

Is PAL unique to the University of Bath?

No, PAL was originally developed in the United States and has now spread all around the world. There are currently over 60 Universities running PAL schemes in Europe alone, with over 5 000 PAL Leaders supporting over 100 000 students. At the University of Bath, we work closely with the European Centre for SI-PASS, based at Lund University in Sweden, and students and members of staff across Europe to develop our PAL schemes and our leaders to provide effective sessions for our students.  

There is no scheme for me but I want one. How can I set one up?

Check out our page on setting up new schemes to find out how to set a scheme up.

Still got a question? You can drop us an email about anything peer support.