Studying together

Studying in groups with your friends can be helpful if you do it the right way, but be sure to avoid the pitfalls that come along the way too.


A support group can ‘pick you up’ when you find that your motivation to study is slipping.

You may be reluctant to ask a question in class. You will find it easier to do so in a small study group.

You may become more committed to study because the group members are depending on your participation.

Group members will listen and discuss information and concepts during the study sessions. These activities add a strong auditory dimension to your learning experience.

One or more group members are likely to understand something you do not. They may bring up ideas you never considered.

You can learn valuable new study habits.

You can compare your class notes with those of the other group members to clarify your notes and fill in any gaps.

Teaching/explaining information and concepts to the other group members will help you reinforce your mastery of the information.

Let’s face it — studying can sometimes be boring. Interacting with the other group members can make studying enjoyable.

Getting started

Get to know your classmates by talking with them before class, during breaks, and after class. When selecting a classmate to join your study group, you should be able to answer ‘yes’ for each of the following questions:

• Is this classmate motivated to do well?

• Does this classmate understand the subject matter?

• Is this classmate dependable?

• Would this classmate be tolerant of the ideas of others?

• Would you like to work with this classmate?

Invite these classmates to work with you in a study group til you have formed a group of three to five.

Decide where, how often and for how long you will meet. Meeting two or three times a week is best with a study session of about 60-90 minutes.

Picking a leader

Decide who the leader will be for the first study session. Also decide whether it will be the same person each session or whether there will be a rotating leader. The leader of a study session should be responsible for meeting the goals of that study session.

Clearly decide the agenda for the first study session and the responsibilities of each group member for that session.

Successful study group

There are certain rules that need to be followed if you want to have a fruitful study group.

Each group member contributes to discussions.

Only one group member speaks at a time.

The other group members work collaboratively to resolve any concern raised by a group member.

Group members come prepared to work.

The group stays on task with respect to its agenda.

Group members show respect for each other.

Group members feel free to criticise each other but keep their criticisms constructive. This can encourage group members to reveal their weaknesses so that they can strengthen them.

Group members feel free to ask questions of each other.

At the end of each study session, an agenda including specific group member responsibilities is prepared for the next session.

Above all, the positive attitude that ‘we can do this together’ is maintained. — Agencies