Study Self Assessment

Study Attitude

Study Goals

Study Tips

Time Management


Study Groups

Lecture Listening

Lecture Notes

Effective Reading

Textbook Note Taking

Coping with Tests

Test Taking Strategies:

Objective Tests

Essay Tests


Concentration Power


Better Remembering


Ideas to Consider


Teacher Relations


Study Activities


College Stress

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Copyright @ 2011 by 

Tom Siebold

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Study Groups

Many students find that studying with a group of classmates is an effective way to study for a class or prepare for an examination.  So what is a study group?  A study group is a small group of students (usually three to six) who are studying the same subject.  They meet informally to review and compare their notes, insights, and ideas so that everyone understands the material better.

Benefits of having a study group

A study group…

  1. Helps you stay motivated.  The interaction and responsibilities of a study group will keep you thinking about what you are learning.

  2. Keeps you focused.  When studying alone it is easy to stray from the subject or lose interest.  Study group members can remind you to stay on task and keep you plugging forward.

  3. Gets you to see material from other points of view.

  4. Provides additional forms of input.  In other words, you hear the material out loud when participants speak, you work to answer the questions of others, and you are often asked to defend or explain your positions.  This requires you to put the material under study in your own words which is a really potent way of remembering and understanding something.

  5. Gives you a chance to have your questions answered.  If you don’t fully understand something, someone in your group probably does.

  6. Helps you see what content is both important and testable. 

  7. Reminds you of important points that perhaps you have missed.  Others in your group will help you fill in the missing pieces from your own notes.

Ground Rules for Successful Study Groups

Not all study groups are successful.  Sometimes they fail because of scheduling issues, personality conflicts, unproductive sessions, etc.  Your best chance for success is to agree to adhere to the following ground rules:

  1. Agree on meeting mechanics: A. How often you will meet, B. Where you will meet, C. How long sessions will last, D. How to best contact one another.

  2. Allow, even insist, that all members engage equally in discussion and input.

  3. Stay on task.  Don’t gobble up your study group time by wandering off onto other subjects or distractions.

  4. When speaking make certain that what you say is relevant and to the point.  Avoid long, rambling monologues.

  5. Don’t allow one person to dominate.

  6. Be tolerant of different learning style or approaches to study.  Remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

  7. Come to every session prepared with something to offer.

  8. Ask each other questions and respectfully challenge one another, but keep an open and curious mind.

  9. Ban or, at least limit, complaining about the course or the teacher.

  10. Try predicting test questions—create a “test question bank.”

  11. Take turns “teaching” something from the material

  12. Listen to each other carefully and respectfully.  Only one person in the group speaks at a time.

  13. At the end of each session, take a moment to evaluate how things went: What worked and how the group can have even a better session next time.  Then make assignments for the next session.

  14. Stay positive and have a little fun.