A Quick Guide to Study Groups

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Group Study Tips and Tricks

Written by: Lisa Phelps for Student Choice

I remember struggling in an intro chemistry class. I was totally lost and knew I needed help. I decided that a study group was the solution, so guess what I did? I asked the smartest guy in the room if he wanted to form a group with me. He readily agreed (maybe so he could show off his superior intellect!), we invited a couple of other students and long story short, I understood the material better, my grades improved and I made some unlikely new friends.

It was a win-win-win situation.

Done correctly, study groups are a great way to clarify concepts, review difficult material and prepare for tests. But there is some strategy to forming and working in a group.

 

Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Pick members who are motivated, dependable and easy to work with. Try to pick people, no more than six, who bring different strengths to the table.
  • Create a list of names, emails and mobile numbers. Give it to everyone in the group. Good communication is crucial.
  • Nominate one person to be the group’s facilitator. They will be responsible for keeping the group on track during discussions and setting up and reminding members about meetings.
  • Each meeting should focus on a specific topic. One or two people should be responsible for leading the discussion. For example, summarizing a particular lecture or selecting problems to work through together.
  • Evaluate the group regularly. Is everyone contributing? Prepared for meetings? Showing up? Feel free to vote out negative or destructive members. Your study group shouldn’t resemble a soap opera.

 

 

There are lots of great benefits, too:

  • A study group helps prevent procrastinating. If you know you have a study session scheduled, you’ll have to get up and go. It’s a great motivator.
  • You’ll hear other student’s perspectives and insights about the material. You’ll share yours, too, which improves your overall understanding of the material and communication skills. You can actually learn a lot by “teaching”
  • Your confidence will improve, and hopefully your grades as well.
  • It can be social outlet. But wait until your studying is done! If you’re lucky, you’ll make some new, lifelong friends.

 

If your group doesn’t seem to gel after two or three meetings, you might not have the right mix of people. Be willing to kick out people who do any of the following:

When it’s best to part ways:

  • Constantly badmouth the subject, teacher or other students in the class.
  • Always come to meetings unprepared.
  • Spend all their time socializing.
  • Dominate the group discussions or bully others.

 

Don’t just form a study group for your most difficult classes; have one for each subject. There’s nothing like a little peer pressure to keep you motivated, interested and excited about learning.

 

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