Starting your own study group is a great way to enhance your knowledge and understanding of course content. When studying in a group, you can learn from each person’s unique insights and strengths. Study groups can help you engage in your coursework and connected to your peers.
The Academic Success Center can help established study groups work efficiently. While we do not have established study groups, we can work with you to understand the steps needed to form your own group. Request an appointment to get started.
Benefits of starting your own study group
If you are looking to improve your grades, increase your motivation, and learn new ways to study, study groups are what you’ve been looking for. Below are some additional benefits:
Consistent time to study
Stay focused and motivated
Learn new study habits and ways to problem solve
Better engagement in coursework and content
Gain teamwork experience
Improve your notes from class, help each other fill in the gaps
Start with your professor or TA
Your professor or TA may have suggestions on what to cover or how to study in groups. They also may know of other students who would be interested in joining a study group.
Where to find a study group
Contact your professor
Chat with classmates
Ask your TA
Starting a group
Start with your myCourses classlist: invite classmates you know and ask them to invite others. Also, use a common messaging platform (myCourses, Slack, or Discord) to get the word out. A study group can be as small as two people, but we suggest 4-6 members.
Decide on where and when your group will meet
Once you have a core group, determine a time, place and "location." that will work for everyone. Given the pandemic, video conferencing will be the safe and convenient option for most.
Set expectations and an agenda
Take time in your first meeting to discuss expectations. Here are a few ideas to get your started. Review Best Practices below for more.
Prepare and bring work
Participate: listen to others and contribute
Communicate if plans change
Set a clear purpose and goal for each meeting
Example: Initial Meeting Agenda
Establish goals for the meeting
Decide on platform
Decide on roles
Decide session format
Learning time: review syllabus and assigned reading for next class meeting
Wrap-Up: Establish expectations for the next meeting.
Next birthday is next moderator.
Make question list of topics that need further clarification. Assign these for next session.
Decide on Roles
We recommend that your group is about 4-6 members. As a group, work on developing a responsibility or role for each member. Giving everyone a job or responsibility shares the work and helps to create investment in the group. Roles can include a facilitator, time-keeper, note taker, etc. Remember, this is not a homework group, it's a study group. Everyone must contribute to make it successful.
Be on time
Proactively communicate with group members
Have a positive attitude
Everyone contributes and is held accountable
Provide constructive feedback, not criticism
Assign roles for group members
Facilitator keeps the group focused and on task
Listen without interrupting
Come prepared to do work, come with your materials and questions
Practice conversation flow
Avoid the awkward silence by narrating what you are doing. If you are pulling up a file for example, this will help the group stay engaged.
Create an agenda together
Look ahead to the next meeting and prepare, set responsibilities and roles
Brainstorm possible test questions and quiz one another
Create something to take home, an outline, study sheet, diagram etc.