Time and time again, the group project has become an intrusive problem for students, leaving students unsettled with the idea of working or studying in a group setting. However, that does not mean that the potential of studying in groups should be dismissed.
Effective study groups help students learn the material in a deeper, more concrete way. Groups that are effective generate positive energy, encourage active participation, teaches discipline, and requires commitment from group members. These skills are all important criteria for learning.
Here are the top 10 reasons all students should form a study group, as soon as possible!
1. Understand the Subject Better
There is no argument that taking time to read, learn, and study a subject or theory will lead to a greater understanding of that particular subject. By actively engaging with the material, learning together, and genuinely knowing a subject, students can feel empowered and motivated to do well in the classroom.
Learning is a different experience for each person. Students can hear different perspectives on the subject and therefore understand it from more than position. This is useful in real-world settings where more than one solution or understanding bolsters creative and analytical thinking.
2. Get Better Grades
A number of students put off studying, homework, papers, and projects. A study group can help solidify and clarify the material, leading to a more promising classroom experience, and potentially a higher GPA! By understanding the subject and feeling motivated, students will feel more willing to do better in class, on tests, and on assignments.
Also, for certain concepts, some students might be better at explaining the material to their fellow cohort. In a way, a study group is also a built-in tutoring session. For those who know the material it is a great way to review and refine their understanding of it, and for those struggling, they gain a fresh perspective that might suit their learning style better.
3. Gain Well-Rounded Insight
By having each group member read, study, and summarize the most important points in a chapter, other students in the group gain the capability of understanding the chapters at a deeper level. Different students might uncover different themes or theories, so studying with others can be an eye-opening experience. Students can analyze their findings, which can serve as a standard to help determine the most important points of a chapter.
This is also a way to get the full value of the class textbook. Unfortunately, students may be overwhelmed with the number of readings or assignments due in a semester and resort to surface learning. This kind of learning fades as soon as the material needed is no longer relevant. With students sharing the burden of distilling dense material, they will appreciate the broader context of their studies more than tackling it alone.
4. Maintain Personal Responsibilities
Study groups should allow each student to share his/her ideas and thoughts about a particular subject—the student can even give a small presentation, depending on the group’s dynamics.
This is highly beneficial; students who are going to present at a study group are less likely to forget to do their reading! No one wants to be embarrassed in front of their peers or to let others down!
Oftentimes several college students can find themselves to be naturally rebellious toward authority figures. This rebellion can lead them to feel frustrated with assignments given by a professor. However, the added responsibility of studying with a group of peers (without the influence of an elder figure) can enable these students to feel more apt to participate, promoting responsibility, education, and team building.
Besides personal responsibility, these groups can aid in self-discovery. Perhaps the student will realize that they work best in the morning or at night; perhaps they will discover that they are exceptionally good at researching but not summarizing. These insights help them discover what kind of careers titles will suit them best.
5. Gain Team Experience
When the time comes to look for a job, workplaces might ask about one’s experience working in teams. By forming and participating in a regular study group, prospective employees will have ample experience from which to draw answers, stories, and more during an interview and in the workplace.
Learning how to get along well with others in a team-oriented environment can show potential employers that an interviewee is focused, patient, well-rounded, and an overall team player. Yes, it requires patience and they inclination might be that a student works better alone, but the future of work is highly collaborative. It is better to get the valuable experience of discovering your strengths and weaknesses as early as possible.
6. Combat Procrastination & Achieve More
Not surprisingly, the desire to procrastinate can be much stronger when one is alone. Rather than falling to the personal pressure of procrastination, surrounding oneself with motivated, serious students can help get the ball rolling on assignments, and can become the building block to success!
Naturally, some students are more organized and have better time-management skills than others. Being a part of a study group will hone these skills for some and help others gain a model for how this can be done in other aspects of their lives. Again, learning from peers can sometimes be easier than heeding the advice of authority figures.
7. Sharpen Problem-Solving Skills
The idea of placing 3-5 college students in one room to study might not sound promising; it is likely for disagreements, arguments, and distractions to occur.
However, by learning how to adapt to the work and study styles of others, students will sharpen their problem-solving skills. When there are 3-5 conflicting ideas, theories, and practices in a single group, students must decipher which idea is the best; this takes patience, sacrifice, and the skills needed to resolve the issue.
In a positive way, this kind of healthy debate is also good for students. Being challenged to defend your ideas, perspectives, and find solutions that suit others, not just yourself, will be needed in every other area in life as well.
8. Why We Should Study With Groups
Forming a study group with peers that live nearby means that students don’t have to commute all the way to school to study; this is especially helpful for those with longer commutes. This tactic can also be especially useful for online students. Don’t hide behind the anonymity of the virtual classroom; get out and meet others from your class in a safe, public environment!
In this modern age, students must adapt to new technologies. Students having difficulty meeting up can also utilize the Internet for their study groups! When a group member is out of town, when the weather is bad, or when group members are having difficulty meeting in a particular location, then log in to Skype, Go-to-Meeting, Google Hangouts or other video conferencing websites!
With little excuse to not join a study group if you’re able to carpool or join virtually, other creative possibilities open up. Use new technologies to stay organized, committed, connected, and efficient. Invite your professor to a study session and impress them with your dedication. Study groups are a way to show others that you’re invested in yourself which will gain their respect.
9. Meet in the Setting You Choose
Forming a study group enables students to decide where to study. Burned out by meeting day after day in the back of the silent, whitewashed local library? Head over to your nearest coffee shop, stock up on caffeine, and enjoy a humanized study experience, surrounded by like-minded professionals, students, and everyday people!
But don’t forget, your colleges and universities often have vastly underutilized resources. Start by asking your student council union and librarian how your study group can take advantage of any resources. You might learn gain access to directories, subscriptions, or study rooms.
10. Motivate and Inspire One Another
Having trouble getting through a difficult class? Well, a bit of moral support can go a long way! By doing so, students will not only motivate one another to do well, but they will also have the chance to form strong, long-lasting friendships.
Accountability is an important factor for success no matter the task. Applying this to your studies for excellent results could find you receiving academic honors, scholarships, or internships upon graduation. Having others challenge you to be the best version of yourself is a wonderful opportunity that even something as simple as a study group can provide.
Are You Ready to Form an Effective Study Group?
Here are a few tips that students should consider when making the commitment to form an effective study group:
Your group should not exceed 5 members (although, 3-4 is best)
- Meeting weekly is essential.
- There should be a peer leader who determines meeting locations, study session times and keeps the group informed about the next week’s subject.
- The group should determine what they will cover from the start—the leader will only ensure that the group stays on track.
- Be sure to review together, go over difficult homework questions, and address any other problems group members face during class.
- Don’t forget to do a quick wrap up, summarizing the important details.
- Remember: this is not class; have fun with your group!
- Bond by spending time together outside of class and aside from the group.
- Use online technologies accessible to everyone so in order to limit confusion that discourages people from staying in a study group.
FNU—Helping Students Down the Road to Success
Incoming freshmen and experienced students alike can benefit from the aforementioned tips. Success is up to each individual and can be achieved in a number of ways; we highly suggest that students form study groups in order to stand out from the rest of their peers and to do well each semester—especially in a difficult class!
If you are not yet a student and are still deciding where you would like to further your education, consider Florida National University (FNU). We care about each individual student—our small class sizes allow for extra individual attention, thus fostering a healthy and thriving learning environment. Interested in one of our programs? Get started, and apply now!