October 17, 2016

3-Step Study Groups

By Ashley Phillips

Have you ever seen those products that advertise a “quick, new way” to get something done? Maybe it’s a new cooking tool or lawn care item. It seems life-changing in the ad, but when you get it home it’s a lot of random parts and some vague diagrams. Good luck putting it together! Study groups can be the same way. It’s easy for someone on the outside to say, “Just make a study group”, when (in reality) study groups can be a little messy when you’re trying to figure out how to put everything together.

picture of students studyingThere are some good reasons to form a study group. First, explaining a concept to other students tells you how well you understand the material. If you can share it in your own words, you understand it pretty well. Second, when you study in a group, you benefit from the viewpoints of the other members, making sure you aren’t missing any vital information. Finally, reviewing with others gives you the opportunity to test one another without using your notes.

Fortunately, creating study groups doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow these three steps.

Step 1: Talk to your Classmates

Look for the students who seem dependable, whether it’s through posting thoughtful answers to online discussion questions, or paying attention in class. Ask them if they’d like to study together sometime. There, it’s done! You’ve completed Step 1.

Step 2: Prepare for the Study Group

This is the step that many people overlook, but it can help the group work well. As soon as you decide to study together, also take some time to decide the following:

  • When and where your group will meet,
  • What each person will come prepared to talk about,
  • How much time you’ll spend total.

Setting expectations upfront takes the guesswork out of forming a study group, and clear expectations are a great way to avoid frustrations later.

Step 3: Meet with the Group

study groups pictureFollow through with the plan that you made in Step 2. If someone decides not to show up, work with the people who do show up. Cover the topics that you discussed in your plan, and use any extra time to cover new topics or review something complicated.

These three steps move forming study groups from being complicated and messy to being clear and helpful for everyone. Find more detailed ideas about how to form in-person or online study groups, here at Creating Study Groups  You also can make an appointment using the Academic Coaching Request to meet with a Learning Specialist who will be happy to talk to you about study skills and forming study groups.