Studying alone can be a disaster: you can be easily distracted, become bored, and lose focus as soon as that first text pops up on your phone. Instead of sequestering yourself in your room or in the recesses of the library, consider forming a study group to conquer whatever you need to know for class.
When forming a study group, it’s important to consider several things. First, how many members does your study group need? Typically, four to six members is a good group. Three or less members may not be enough to cover all the material, and more than six may lead to too many minds, and end up distracting the group. Second, do different members learn differently? This is a key question to consider as different learning styles will be able to present information in different ways, which will benefit the group. Third, do everyone’s schedules match? This may seem like a simple question, but all students have different schedules, so it’s important to ensure everyone can make a weekly meeting.
An effective study group is usually organized one of two ways. The first way is to have everyone be responsible for everything. Then, once a week, the members meet to review and discuss the material covered in class as well as any outside reading. The second way to run a study group is to have each member responsible for a particular aspect and then present it to the other members. The second method can be further broken down depending on the type of material being covered. For example, in an English class, if the teacher assigns chapters 1-4, each member could take a chapter and then provide notes and discuss the key elements. Or, everyone could read the four chapters, but each member would provide notes on an assigned aspect such as character development, literary devices, point of view, and historical relevance.
Study groups exist as a great resource to understanding material being covered in class. It’s important to find committed group members who will make weekly meetings, and who are able to provide notes on their assigned topics. Make the group fun, and consider meeting at different places to keep it interesting: the student center, the quad, or a local pizza place are all great options.