Five Tips for Making Study Groups Work

If organised properly, a study group can enhance your learning and give you a more rounded perspective on your lectures. If you take the opportunity to go over the subject with your study group in a relaxed environment, you’ll find it all starts to make more sense. Discussing your ideas will also boost your presentation skills.

To ensure your study group is as productive as possible, follow these tips:

Don’t make the group too big

Remember that this isn’t a social event. The aim of the game is to get serious study done and increase your understanding of the chosen subjects. Big groups simply don’t work. The bigger the group, the more difficult it is to keep everyone’s mind on the task at hand. Keep your group to no more than 6 people. And beware of forming a study group with friends. You’ll spend more time catching up than working.

Pick a venue where you won’t get distracted

You need a venue that will enable you to talk out loud as you’ll be discussing your notes at length. So, libraries are out. Pick somewhere comfortable and casual where you can work without getting distracted. Avoid anywhere with loud music or large crowds. Instead opt for cafes that nurture a studying vibe. Think somewhere with soft jazz… and good coffee. If you see fellow customers on laptops, you’re on to a winner.

Decide the topics you are going to discuss before meeting

Make sure everyone in the group knows what the focus of the meeting is in advance. This will cut through the unnecessary preliminary chat so you can get straight to the point. Go around the group in a circle asking people to express their questions on the topic. This helps to structure the debate.

Help each other

Play to one another’s strengths. You are not in competition with your fellow study group members. You are there to support one another and learn from each other. You’ll find that your expertise will vary from session to session. One week you’re the one being taught, the next you’re the one teaching.

Exchange contact details

The study group will only work if everyone participates. This means doing the preparation, turning up on time and contributing something valuable to the discussion. If you think you are unable to attend for whatever reason, it is essential to let your colleagues know. Having everyone’s number in a WhatsApp group makes communication easy.

As the saying goes, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. This mantra is applicable to your workload, too. The more you get involved with a study group and learn from the specific knowledge of each member, the quicker you will advance academically.

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