Top Ten Tips For Starting A College Study Group
Starting a study group to help you bone up before the next big exam is a great idea. After all, the more the merrier, right? While it seems like a simple concept, there are certain pitfalls that must be avoided when putting together your study group. The following is a list of the top ten tips to help you put together an effective group to study with.
Pick Those Who Will Participate
A study group is no place for someone who is painfully shy and unable to speak up. You will want to choose people who take the group seriously and actively participate. Pay attention to the people in class who raise their hands regularly and ask quality questions. Avoid those who sit in the back and don't contribute. These people will only serve to slow the group down.
Don't Make The Group Too Big
When you make a large study group, this can lead to problems with scheduling and other related logistics. The fewer people that are a part of the group, the easier it will be to meet up on a regular basis. Productivity also tends to take a serious hit when a study group becomes too large. Keep your group to a number no more than five, or else you risk management and scheduling issues. Don't be afraid to say no to someone once you have a quality group established.
Set Ground Rules
You will want to set certain rules in the early going so that distractions are kept to a minimum. Maintaining a regular meeting time and place helps to eliminate any scheduling confusion. While taking care of these details may be extremely boring and feel like a waste of time, having all of these factors settled before meetings commence ensures that everyone remains on the same page.
Exchange Contact Information
People's schedules are always subject to change. Personal issues arise or other subjects may take precedence. When starting a study group, be sure to get everyone's contact information. Don't be reticent to ask for phone numbers, e-mails, social media accounts, whatever you need to remain in touch with the other members of your group. This can save you a great deal of stress over the long haul.
Give Everyone A Task
After the first couple of meetings, you should be able to determine everyone's strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks accordingly. There is no reason to try and take on everything by yourself. One group member could be a wizard of making flash cards out of normally dry material. Another could be responsible for the contact list and letting people know when times and locations change. Accentuating strong points will help your fellow group members feel more involved.
Select A Leader
Some people have a natural alpha dog personality and naturally take the lead on most projects. Pinpointing the alpha members of your group and allowing them to take control can pay major dividends over the course of a semester. Or perhaps it may be best if each of you takes turns being the leader of the study group. Study the personalities of who you are working with so that you can make the best choice for your group's studying needs.
Use Your Time Efficiently
Keep all of the talking and socializing to a minimum. Set aside a few minutes at the beginning of each study session so that everyone can get all of their jokes and catching up out of the way. Getting right down to business is crucial, since some group members may have a much more limited amount of time at their disposal. If you spend your time chit chatting, then you could spend hours studying and have it all be for naught. Allow everyone to say what they need to say to each other before you get down to brass tacks and remain focused on the task at hand.
Speak To Your Professor
Take the time as a group to go visit your professor and speak to them about the important points that you should be focusing on in your study group. This keeps your group from spinning their wheels, spending time on topics that are not important to upcoming tests and quizzes. There are also times when no one in the group will be particularly knowledgeable about a certain topic. Your professor should be more than happy to sit down with you as a group and help clear things up.
Loyalty Is Overrated
If your study group is no longer helping you in a meaningful way, do not continue to waste your time meeting with them. The only person who you owe any loyalty to is yourself. College is all about taking responsibility for our own actions, so blaming an ineffective study group for our poor grades is a no-no. Loyalty is a great quality to have, but it can impede our progress if we are not careful.
Open The Lines Of Communication
When you have serious and ongoing issues with another group member, the temptation exists to get together with the rest of the group and bash them behind closed doors. All this does is waste valuable time. If you and your fellow group members have a problem with another member, bring it to them directly. This will help to nip any tension in the bud and bring problems to an amicable resolution.