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Best Practices For Study Groups

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Motivation is found in the possiblity of public humiliation

Asian Woman Reading

Yes, you know how much time you have spent watching stupid mistakes videos online.  You know you are guilty.  Meanwhile, that test is inching closer and your big paper will be due next week.  I know, I've been there.  You have to find motivation, more motivation than what you usually find in your coffee cup.  I know the answer.  It is a study group.  Study groups are a group of about 3 to 5 students that get together and review material for a specific test or for general review.  Imagine if you had to get up and teach a group of your peers a summary of the information in one chapter.  That is real motivation, right?  The possibility of public humiliation is pretty powerful.  You would learn that material inside and out, especially if you had to teach it to others.  Study groups are your answer to grade salvation.

Best Practices For Setting Up A Study Group

If you are going to get a study group together there are some best practices to keep in mind.  First, keep the group on the small side.  It should total 3 to 5 people.  Don't just invite your friends; this is not a social opportunity.  Look for people who show up for class on time, ask questions and take notes. In other words, students who stay fully awake during class.  You want to learn from people with good study habits, not slackers who are looking for a free ride.  Find a place to meet that is free of distractions.  No televisions, internet surfing and turn phone off.  Make sure there is room to study, to spread out books, notes and all of your other study materials.  Arrange to meet on the same day and at the same time each week.  The people who want to learn will show up every week.  those who don't show up won't benefit.  Don't worry about waiting for them.  Make sure you have a starting time and an ending time.  Don't meet for more than 2 hours because the brain needs time to process the information the group has covered.  More than 2 hours of information would be overload for the brain.  Those are most of the best practices of setting up a study group.


Smiling Student

Now What Do You Do?

Now you set up some basic rules.  Make sure everyone has the same expectations.  (For example, the study group will start and end on time.)  Make sure everyone know what needs to be done in each study session.  So, make sure everyone has an assignment and a day they know they will be presenting.  Also, establish a meeting format.  Give 30 minutes for each presentation and 10 minutes for questions, a structure for each meeting.  It helps if everyone knows what to expect in each meeting and what is expected of them.  Stick to your timing and your plan.  This keeps everyone aware of their responsibilities and expectations.

How Do You Study Together?

There are lots of different ways to study and the best technique really depends on the topic you are studying and what you are studying for.  If you were studying for a test then the group would be in review mode.  If you were approaching new material, then the group would be learning how to master the material.  One technique is the "Jigsaw" method to learn information.  Studies show that one of the best way to learn information is to teach it.  Each member is assigned a chapter.  They must learn the material and teach the information in the chapter to the group.  As the expert in that chapter they would be responsible in answering questions on the material.  This would be good for review and acquiring new information. 

Other Ideas For Your Study Group

There are many other ideas to choose from.  The group could play a game of "Jeopardy" with material for a review.  Members of the group could role-play historical characters and answer questions.  The group could create new lyrics to familiar songs that would help everyone learn or review information.  There are many creative and effective ways to study together.  You have to find what fits best for your group.



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