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Study Groups

For: Students

Tags

21st Century Skills Universal Design for Learning Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset Middle/High School Strategy

Skills

Expressive Language Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning

Study Groups

Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.
— Oprah Winfrey

Working in a study group can help you learn better and can be more motivating than studying alone, but it's important to choose a group that will be helpful and not a distraction.

How To Apply It!

  1. Study groups should have only three to five members.
  2. Group members should generally have the same knowledge of the material. Otherwise some people will be bored while others are struggling. When you start from a similar place, everyone can benefit and not be a distraction.
  3. Group members should have similar goals. For example, if one person is striving for an "A" and others are taking the class "pass/fail" there might be a mismatch in motivation and effort. Do not be afraid to experiment with different people in a study group to find a group that best fits your learning needs.
  4. Keep in mind that your closest friends might not be your optimal study buddies. Study groups are for learning, not socializing, and you might find that you do better when you are less tempted to chat.
  5. Study groups should meet regularly so you learn to work well together. Meeting for the first time the night before the test often results in more frustration than productivity.
  6. Start the study session with a set group leader and/or agenda so everyone has similar expectations and there is someone to keep you on track.
  7. Groups are often most productive, when members come prepared with questions rather than using the time to do homework together. It can be hard to focus and problem solve in a group setting. However, groups can be very effective in helping you with something you don't understand or figuring out what is most important to know for the test.
  8. Plan to do independent review in the days before the test, even if you are in a great study group, to avoid the risk of relying more than you realize on group members than you realize. When you take the actual test, you will be solo and you won't be able to rely on others to prompt your recall.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Although study time is not social time, group study can definitely help some students stay on task and can be more fun than studying independently. When we are actively engaged we are more likely to learn and retain information. Study groups also can help students see information in multiple ways, and when we see information from multiple perspectives we are more likely to retain it. However, be careful not to rely too heavily on a study group so you avoid collaborative inhibition -- you will be on your own for the exam and need to be able to recall and apply the information independently.