Peer Mentors Blog

Peer Mentors for First-Year Students

How to Form Effective Study Groups

by Jarrett Lykins | Mar 21, 2014

Hello all! Jarrett here, as we approach the end of the semester it’s important to maximize your study times. Study groups can be a great way to learn with your peers but you need to make sure they run effectively.  Here are my top 5 tips on forming an effective study group:

  1. Choose peers who are serious about studying—It may be tempting to study with your friends, but if you know this time won’t be productive then this is not study time.  It may be a better idea to study with acquaintances from class who you know are serious students.
  2. Set expectations and goals for the study session— It is important to come to a mutual agreement on the goal for the session. Are you going to go over chapters 1, 2, and 3? Do you want to do practice problems?  Go over and old test?  However you’d like to structure the assignments for the group, make sure all of the group members are on board with idea and collectively decide on how to proceed.
  3. Use group learning techniques—There are many ways to conduct an effective group learning session.  If you incorporate active group learning into your study group, all of the members will be more likely to retain the information discussed in the group.  Click this link to explore some group learning strategies:
  4. Choose a time that is productive for everyone— Make sure the time you choose to meet regularly is a time that works for everyone in the group.  Also it might be wise, to take into account the course schedule/test schedule and plan out the topics you’re going to cover in advance.  This way all of the group members will be prepared to discuss the agreed upon topic before the session starts.
  5. Assign clearly defined roles/duties— Make sure everyone in the group knows their responsibilities.  Assign each person in the group a task--e.g. someone to keep track of time during the group session, someone to be the study session leader, someone to be the faculty/tutor liaison (ask questions on behalf of the group), and someone to schedule the meetings (times, dates, locations). This way everyone has a stake in the group's success.

If you follow these basic strategies, you are sure to be successful in your study group.  For more information on study groups come visit on the third floor of the library building in LIB 303 A.

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