Study groups are like garage bands; they should be fantastically helpful and enable their members achieve success beyond their wildest dreams, but most just end up arguing, chatting or playing Xbox and eating pizza.
For a study group to be successful there must be a consensus to be disciplined and to include members who are committed to pulling their weight. Study groups can help you to cover large volumes of material, explain concepts you don’t understand or introduce you to new perspectives. Study groups also hone your presentation skills. When it does work, a study group can be proof that several heads are better than one.
Don’t choose study group members because they are your friends, choose people you know are reliable and hardworking; people you think you can learn something from. The most successful study groups are homogenous and contain people who are all roughly on the same academic level.
Follow the leader
You must choose a group leader. This person is responsible for dividing up the work and informing group members of the dates, times and venues of the study group and which chapters each person must prepare. Rotate leadership if there is not one clear leader; taking turns also helps you improve your organizational skills.
Setting goals for your study group will help you to get through all the work before the exams. It will also help you to plan your study schedule. Include all the assignments and exams so that no one forgets to submit work. You should also set aside time to discuss assignments and exams so that you can identify your mistakes and avoid them in the future.
Get together with other study groups before a big assignment or exam to share knowledge and get different perspectives. A great exercise during these sessions is to go over past exam papers and discuss answers. Leave more time for this session than you would normally leave for your own group.
Study groups can really be beneficial when they are conducted correctly. Instead of covering reams of reading by yourself, sharing it with others can save you tons of time. You can also benefit from alternate explanations of difficult concepts or ideas. Not only do you benefit from the efforts of your classmates, but having to explain work to others helps you to formulate your own ideas and become more articulate in presenting complex concepts or opinions. Keep track of your test scores to ensure that your study group is beneficial. If you are wasting your time and not gaining something in return, discuss this with the group members and try to come up with a new game plan. If there is no change to your group, consider joining a different group or studying on your own.