Forming a study group is an excellent way to challenge yourself to learn new material. Have you ever heard that in order to teach about a subject, that you have to know it really well yourself? The same premise applies with study groups. Study groups are all about students teaching what they know to their peers.
1) Choose Carefully: Decide who would be a good fit for your study group before approaching them to join. You want a dedicated student who will pull their own weight within the group; don’t choose someone who is popular, but is a slacker about their work habits. Small groups work best, usually no more than six to eight members total.
2) Divide to Conquer: Decide on what material the group will cover in the next study session, and assign individual members to cover a section of the material. In this way, you just need to study an overview of the material, rather than study it all in depth, as it each section will be covered more in depth within the group. Have the person assigned to each section make notes for the other members of the group.
3) Challenge Each Other: Start each study session with a short review of the material covered in the last session. Have the student who covered the material in depth in the previous session make up a number of questions about the material for the others to answer. Use these questions to help you prepare for exams.
4) Stay on Topic: Try to stay on topic, and not let the study session deteriorate into critiquing your instructor’s gravy-stained tie, or the too-short skirt the most overweight female in the class was wearing yesterday. It might even help to designate a group member to keep everyone on task.
5) Meet Regularly: For the best results, meet with your group two or three times a week. Keep the sessions to 60 to 90 minutes time. Too long study sessions result in exhaustion for everyone involved, and reduces retention of material.
Good luck in forming your own study group. You’ll enjoy studying more when you can share the trials and tribulations of learning new material with others.