A study has proved that students are more successful when they work within a group rather than studying on their own. Manuel Cebrian, a computer scientist at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego, and his colleagues analyzed 80,000 interactions between 290 students in a collaborative learning environment for college courses. High achievers were more likely to be the ones who formed strong connections with other students – exchanging information and encouraging others along the way.
Benefits of having a study group:
- The study material is better understood and retained – students in study groups generally learn faster than students working alone.
- Students can confirm with each other any confusing or complex subject material. They can also share new perspectives on information that might enhance learning.
- Fellow students can be a source of support and encouragement.
- Increase in confidence in academic capability.
- Opportunity to learn new study habits and skills from peers.
- Prevents procrastination – less likely to wait until the night before a test to study.
To get the most out of each session at a study group you should…
- Establish goals and what you hope to accomplish by joining a study group.
- Review lecture notes together; discuss anything you did not understand.
- Discuss key concepts from lectures and from the textbook.
- Work on assignments.
- Study for tests or exams; Discuss what questions you expect to be on the test.
- Review past exams if the professor has made them available.
Ground rules need to be established for study groups, such as:
- To be on time and prepared.
- To respect others views and ideas.
- Bring class notes and textbooks to study sessions.
- Have homework, study guides, sample test questions, etc. completed before a session.
- Have questions about material ready to discuss.
- Do not meet sporadically—schedule consistent weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly sessions.