How To Organize And Use Study Groups

Studying with classmates is often more effective than studying by yourself. By helping other people understand the material, you'll be thinking about the concepts more deeply, which can help you retain and apply the information. In a study group, you can share ideas with your classmates and learn from them as you would from an instructor. The key is to make your group successful.

Guidelines For Organizing A Group
If you want to step up and create a study group for a challenging class, use the following tips.

  1. Choose three to six people to be in the group. Any more members could make scheduling difficult and some people could get left out.
  2. Don't just pick your friends in the class. You want students who are as serious about doing well as you are. Find people who participate in class, take good notes, and have a firm grasp on the material.
  3. Be consistent with your meetings. Choose the same time and place to increase the likelihood that everyone can attend. Treat the group like you would a class and find a space where all of you can spread out and interact without distraction.

Getting The Most Out Of A Session
To ensure that your group is using the meetings effectively, arrive prepared and use tricks like these.

  1. Set rules and guidelines. Make sure everyone knows the purpose of the group and agrees on what's expected of members.
  2. Stay on topic. Assign someone to lead each session and keep the group focused on the material.
  3. Make a plan and stick to it. Come up with an outline of what each meeting will cover and follow it. Stay within your time constraints.

Tasks Your Group Should Complete
Be sure your group does the following to maximize the benefits of each session.

  1. Assign someone to lead the discussion. Before gathering, have a member prepare questions about a topic for everyone to discuss.
  2. Take turns asking questions, answering them, and explaining why the answers are correct. Collect the questions at the end so you can use them for a final review later.
  3. Evaluate your group's performance regularly to make sure everyone feels they are benefiting. Address any weaknesses, and you and your group members should do well in the class.

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