Zareen Wajid, Talent Acquisition Specialist
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(insert subject you despise) has got no power
When you’re part of a Study Group with avid fire
You all meet for two hours thrice a week
To go over concepts you single-handedly might not be able to beat
With a Study Group though you all will definitely pull through
Because that (insert subject you despise) has got nothing on any of you

-Coolest Blog Writer on the Face of this Planet

Yep, that pretty much sums up how effective study groups can be. Here are some tips on how to form and be productive in your Study Groups:

    1. Group Members. An effective study group has about 3-5 members. There are obvious downfalls to having too many members, as you’ll begin to realize as you continue reading. All group members need to be committed to the study group. This means coming to the group meetings on time, being prepared, and being ready to learn and contribute.
    2. Group Organization. Effective study groups should have a good organization and management system in place.
      • Figure out the logistics of the study group. How often should your study group meet weekly? For how long? Where? Also, you all should exchange numbers/email/Facebook to figure out the best way to communicate. Maybe create a Closed Facebook group.
      • Choose a facilitator and a scribe for the study group. It should be two different people. The facilitator is responsible for facilitating, meaning this person should manage the logistics of the study group. This person should send out a reminder email/text on the time/location of the study session, as well as keep track of each study session so as to not deviate from the study material and/or agenda. The scribe is responsible for the scribing, meaning this person should take notes during the group study session and email them to each member at the end of the session. The facilitator/scribe can be the same persons or can rotate per study session.
    3. Group Purpose. This may seem simple; obviously, you are in a study group because the class is difficult. Unfortunately, that is not a good enough purpose.
      • As a group, decide what the purpose of the study group is. Whether it is to review concepts, to go over questions, or to “quiz” each other, the purpose of your study group should be apparent to all members.
      • As a group, set SMART goals for your study sessions: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. For example, if you are in a Statistics class, going over all the homework problems in a study group may not be the best use of time. It may be better to only go over a few problems, and use the rest of the time to go over lecture notes and concepts.
      • The purpose of the group can change with each session depending on the class and the study materials. Oftentimes, study groups will regularly meet to review lectures and concepts learned in class, but before exams, study groups will meet to “quiz” each other or go over past exam questions.
    4. Group Sessions. Study group sessions should follow an agenda or timeline as determined by the group. This will help everyone stay focused.
      • At the beginning of your session, take about 10 minutes to go over what the purpose of the study group will be for that session. That way all group members will be on the same page.
      • Toward the end of your session, take about 10 minutes to go over what agenda items or areas you didn’t get a chance to review in the group. Maybe your group can forego those concepts or discuss later. Maybe it’s too complicated, and you all need assistance from the TA or professor. Whatever the case may be, it is good to know next steps as your adjourn your session.

Study groups are one of the most effective ways to study. The reason for that is simple. As you discuss concepts or go over questions in a study group, you get the chance to explain those said concepts to other members of your group. By doing so, you are reinforcing your new learning (and thereby, committing it to your memory). If you are having difficulty explaining a concept to your group members, then clearly you don’t understand it that well yourself.

After all, it’s true what they say, “there is no better way to learn than to teach.”