What difference does a study group make?
- Reinforces, clarifies, and deepens your learning by providing the opportunity to teach. Teaching a concept to someone else is a sure way for you to understand it.
- Provides feedback — before the test — on how well you are learning the material.
- Prepares you for the working world, with its emphasis on teamwork. Indicate on your resume that you organized study groups.
- Provides a “support group.” All students feel discouraged at times, but a study group can “refuel” motivation and make studying more fun.
- Encourages you to overcome shyness about discussing issues in class. Almost every job is accomplished by the combined efforts of many people.
- Strengthens motivation to study, because you know your group is depending upon your preparation and participation. Research indicates that students improve their grades by supplementing individual study with group study.
How do you find study partners?
- Get to know your classmates during breaks, and after class. Determine which students are serious about their studies and would be effective contributors in a group.
- Invite 2 to 4 students to meet with you to study. If you are uncomfortable about this, ask the professor to send around a sign-up sheet or to announce that interested students should stay after class. Limit group size to 5 or 6 people.
- An alternative way to find study partners is to study in a location where you are likely to see students from your class. Then, ask a classmate a question about the subject matter and begin chatting.
- Make sure your goals match with the group. Pick people who pay attention, ask questions, take notes, and have some knowledge.
- Each person should study individually before the group meets.
- If you are the only person in your ITV class, contact the Student Services Coordinator for assistance in connecting with potential study partners.
What strategies will your group use?
- Some groups begin their session by comparing lecture notes.
- Most groups use their lecture notes, a lecture handout, or a study guide written by the professor as an outline to guide the order of topics to discuss.
- FORMAL GROUP: At the end of each session write an agenda for the next session, with each group member assigned to prepare/present specific material. Volunteer to be the presenter in the area you find most difficult. Research this area thoroughly and become the expert. Develop five questions to ask others.
- INFORMAL GROUP: Decide at the beginning of the session what topics you will study and how you will study. You might assign a topic to each member to talk about or teach to the other members.
- Create and photocopy summary sheets, flash cards and charts to share.
- Have each member write a practice test and give the test to each other.
- List your group’s remaining areas of confusion and go to the professor for clarification.
- Don’t allow members to attend unprepared.
- Decide ahead of time the starting and ending time.
- Find a comfortable but productive place to study.
- Don’t allow lengthy complaints about professor or course during group time.
- Avoid criticizing other members but if members get off track, simply ask “Will that be on the test?”
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