When it comes to studying, the phrase “strength in numbers” certainly comes into play. Study groups can be incredibly effective when it comes to mastering class material. You can pool your resources, compare notes, and help each other with tricky subjects. However, it’s important to use caution when selecting classmates to work with. We’re not suggesting you hold American-Idol-style auditions, but there are definitely certain factors to keep in mind.
Keep it to 4-5 people. The ideal number of people to work with ranges from 4-5. This provides enough brain power to make an impact without becoming another class meeting. Too many students will make it difficult to stay on task.
Stick with students who are on the same level academically as you. This may sound harsh, but it’s an important point. A group member who is more advanced than the rest of the group will become frustrated or end up acting like a tutor. A group member that has no grasp of the material (or is just plain lazy) will only hold you back.
Also find students with similar goals and work ethics. Working with a study-nut who wants to meet every day will only wear you out. On the other hand, working with someone who doesn’t really care about their grade or academic performance will just aggravate you. Look for students who are in the same mindset as you are and won’t turn it into a competition. You’re there to help and support each other, not compare grades.
Communicate frequently. By having a continuous flow of communication, you and your group members are more likely to stay on the same page. Let each other know what you’re struggling with, if you’re going to miss a class, etc. Keeping up to date with each other will help you keep up to date with the class work as well. Consider sending out group emails or forming a message thread on Facebook so you can regularly update each other.
Make a schedule. While you don’t need to form an intensive program for everyone to follow, it’s important to have some sort of structure to your meetings. Pick a day or two to meet each week and cover the material you feel necessary after each class session. If it’s a tough subject, meet for a little longer. If the latest assignments feel very manageable, take a day off. Make sure you’re all on the same page and you’ll be fine.
Determine strengths and weaknesses. If you all feel comfortable with one subject area, don’t waste time poring over every detail together – you can review it on your own time. Find the topic that you all have questions about and pull your knowledge together then.
Keep our tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to building an A+ Study Group! Have you had a great experience working in a study group? Share your own advice below!