The Dos and Don’ts of Group Study

Studying as a group can be a really great way to share resources and knowledge with your fellow students and prepare for exams and assignments. Below you’ll find the ‘unwritten rules’ that can help make sure you get the most out of a study group session.

Don’t: Use it as an Alternative to Tutoring

Everybody should be contributing to the group study session; it’s not a chance for everyone to just pick the brain of the smartest person in the class. If you feel like you need more intensive, individual support to understand the subject, speak to your lecturer. Some colleges, such as Evocca College, provide support services like a weekly check-in phone call from a tutor. Even if you’re not lucky enough to have something like this in place at your school, there will be resources that you can find on campus if you need one-on-one support.

group study

Do: Collaborate

If you’re all just sitting there silently focusing on your own work, you miss out on the chance to share information and comprehension of the subject matter with one another. Have a plan and structure to the session and make sure you communicate and contribute to ensure you’re getting the most out of the group setting. It can help to assign roles and set an agenda for what you’re hoping to get through in the session.

Don’t: Assume Something Is Right Just Because a Classmate Said It

No matter how much conviction someone makes a claim with, remember these are your fellow students, so they may not be right. Talk, share and collaborate, but if somebody has a different understanding to your own on the subject, make a note to do your own additional research or discuss with your tutor rather than just assuming that what they’re saying is correct.

Do: Take it Seriously

Be on time, bring everything you need along with you, and be present. If you’ve gotten a group of friends or fellow students together to study, give them the respect of your full attention to the subject matter. During the designated timeframe of the study session, try not to deviate from discussing the classwork; if you want to catch up and socialise, organise a coffee date for before or after the session.

Don’t: Forget That Location Matters

Ideally, see if your campus or local community library has meeting spaces you can reserve. Not only will you have access to reference materials, but there are usually internet connections, whiteboards and printers. If you can’t get a meeting space, somewhere quiet (where conversation is allowed) with plenty of space for everyone to set up will do.

Getting together to study as a group can be a really effective way to gauge your understanding of course material and get ready for tests and assessments. You just need to make sure you have some goals and a structure to the sessions to make sure everyone is getting what they need from studying together.

What’s your advice to help students get the most out of a group study session? Share your tips in the comments below.

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