How to Form a Study Group in College
The sheer amount of material you are expected to learn in college and university courses can be overwhelming. It’s easy to fall behind, leaving you scrambling to cram several lectures of material before an exam. And if you haven’t already found out, cramming does not work.
This is why forming a study group can help you succeed academically. If you are struggling with a topic, another member of your study group may be able to help. On the other hand, if you are an expert on a topic, teaching it to another person will help consolidate your own knowledge. Another advantage of a study group is that with regular meetings, you get into the habit of studying—no more cramming before the exam!
Given the many advantages of a study group, how do you go about forming one? The first step is simply to ask your friends, classmates, lab partners if they would be interested in joining a study group. Ask in person, ask on Facebook; just ask. Find a time that everyone will be available. An effective study group meets at least once a week for two hours. Additional sessions can be added when it gets closer to exam time.
Now that you have your group, you need to think of where your group will meet. The library is an ideal place: make use of their study rooms, which may include a white or blackboard. If study rooms are unavailable, try the cafeteria or a coffee shop during off-hours (like early mornings and late evenings). Ideally, you will want to use the same location for every session, so over time, you develop a studying mindset when you get there.
The final step is simply follow through. Show up every session, but you also don’t want to be the only one showing up. Remind your group members of the time and location of sessions. Ask everyone to show up prepared: bring notes, textbooks, and questions about the lecture material. In the beginning, it might be useful to have an agenda for the study session, outlining what the group will go over. Later study sessions can be less structured.
The goal of a study group is to ensure everyone’s understanding and success. Don’t be afraid of asking “stupid” questions or asking someone to explain a tricky topic again. An effective study group should not just help you understand lecture material but also help you get into the habit of studying. Good luck!