Before you dive in to choose the participants and the frequency of meetings etc, you’d do well to read these tips for successful study groups. If you’re going to opt to share your study experience, you want to be sure you can make the most of the experience and that the group is mutually beneficial. Follow these tips for successful study groups to ensure that you and your classmates get all that you can from it.
1. A Genuine Belief That Studying Together is Fun
You need to pick the right team, or build the right team. This is one of the best tips for successful study groups because the team you pick will determine how successful your study group becomes. You do not have to pick a group that is the smartest, or a group that is the best of friends. What you need is a group of people that do not regard studying as “work.” The topics and knowledge must inspire them enough to make them want to study. The best way to guarantee this is to find people that think studying this sort of thing is fun.
2. Not a Scrap of Negativity
If anyone is negative in the group, then it is like adding oil to fresh water. You need to make sure that every person in the group is against negativity. One negative person will infect the rest of the group. You do not need a team of people that are positive all the time, you can all be tired, and can all have better things to do, but nobody is allowed to be negative ever. Just one negative comment, even if it is off the topic, is not allowed.
3. Bounce Ideas off Each Other
This is one of the best things about study groups. You are able to bounce ideas off each other. Do this and you will all come up with better ideas and you will all have more fun. Everybody sitting around coming up with their own ideas is not fun and not that productive.
4. Help Each Other Find the Best Resources
The great thing about study groups is that you can all research different things and then pool your knowledge of the best bits. You can all read different books and sources, and then the other people in your group will not have to read/review them. They still get to enjoy the benefits of the resources, without having to study and read them themselves.
5. Information and Idea Hogs Should Be Ejected
One of the best tips for tips for successful study groups is to remove anybody that is not playing ball. There are some people that will hog all the best ideas and research and will give away very little. They are not working as a team, they are competing and they are using the group to get ahead. They are taking the secrets of the group and using them for personal gain without giving anything back. You can recognize an idea/information hog by the fact that he or she gives very few ideas in return, or will give very poor ideas. An idea/information hog may also remind you of the few ideas he or she gives that were good in order to throw you off the scent. That person will often get a slightly better grade than the rest of you. All of these signal that you should remove the idea/information hog from the group.
6. The Aim is for All to Get the Same High Grade
All members should get roughly the same grade. If some are getting better grades than the others are, then those are the people hogging all the good ideas and information and are not sharing fairly.
7. Have Fun Activities on Different Days
You should arrange to do fun things on other days. Do not do them at the end or during breaks between study because they are a distraction and they remind you all that there are more fun things you could be doing right now.
If you’re new to the idea of study groups please keep these tips in mind. For other students, please share your tips and experiences. Do you find study groups useful?