Study groups are a “that-sounds-great” kind of study skills tool that most students never use. Sometimes this is because it just doesn’t seem worth the time or effort to get together. Sometimes it’s because of bad experiences in the past. But if you try out these three simple ways to maximize your study groups, you’ll find that they are more than worth the time and energy it takes to start a study group.
1. Maximize Your Study Group: Don’t study with your best friends
Unfortunately, getting together with your “besties” isn’t always super effective. In fact, it’s rarely super effective. You’ll end up doing anything other than studying.
One simple study skills improvement is to study with people outside your closest group of friends.Want a better study group? Study with people outside your closest group of friends.Click To Tweet
We aren’t suggesting you can’t like the people you’re studying with. Study with people you like. If you can’t at least tolerate the other person, you probably won’t get far.
We’re just saying don’t try to have a “study party” and think it’ll go well. I know. I’ve tried. In college I was in an accounting class with 10-15 friends of mine. We thought we’d do well if we studied accounting together. It didn’t work. In fact, it did the opposite. Our study groups were far worse than studying alone. It took 20 hours when we tried together — I did my homework in 2 hours when alone.
Try expanding your friend base this semester and find a few new friends to join a study group.
2. Maximize Your Study Group: Study the most difficult concepts from class
Usually the simple things aren’t too difficult to master. When we see students struggling and in need of a study group, it’s not on addition or subtraction. It’s not on simple fractions. It’s on differential equations (if you don’t know what that is, breathe a sigh of relief)… and other things that are way over my head.
Complicated information is often best learned as groups of students help one another learn. Interestingly enough, shared ignorance at this point is often really helpful. Two people who don’t understand one topic can often learn it together.
3. Maximize Your Study Group: Discuss — don’t just quiz
The major benefits of a study group are that you aren’t talking to yourself.
You may think this is self-explanatory, but sometimes students miss the biggest benefits of this. Often study groups are seen as times to quiz one another. Usually this means asking each other questions about details you could find on flashcards.
While this isn’t bad, you don’t need someone else to do it. You can find an app like Quizlet to take care of it for you. It’s really easy to quiz yourself — by yourself. Don’t use study groups to do that.
Instead, focus on discussion.
This is crucial when you have essay tests coming up. By discussing information together, students often help one another get their minds around difficult concepts. We also help one another connect related ideas (yes, we — I’m a student, and this is how I use study groups).
Connections are crucial for writing great essays. Focus on those things in you study groups, and you’ll be sure to get the most out of your time. Do you have something to add? Connect with us on social media and let us know your input for more ways to maximize a study group.