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How Do I Start a Study Group

Choose the participants wisely.

Look for students who do well in the course or show an interest in learning; students who ask questions and respond to the instructor’s questions; students who take notes in class; and students who attend the course regularly. Be careful about studying with friends with whom you mostly socialize and who do not share your academic goals; they may serve as a distraction rather than a good study partner. Pick classmates who seem to share your interest in doing well in class. It is also advantageous to include someone in your study group who understands the material better than you and someone who understands it less. Doing so will provide you with someone who can explain concepts to you and someone to whom you can explain the material.

Limit the group to 4–6 members.

Once a group gets larger than about six people, the effectiveness of the group may drop as it is more likely that not all the members will contribute. Additionally, it is more difficult to schedule a meeting time with a larger group. Conversely, if a group is too small, it is easier for the members to get side-tracked.

Meet to establish the logistics of the study group.

The purpose of this meeting is to talk about the logistics of forming the group, including setting the goals for the group and establishing how often it will meet. This will give the members the opportunity to decide if they want to be a part of it or not. Be sure to do the following:

  • Set expectations. Members should agree to be prepared for the study sessions. So if the group will be discussing concepts from chapter 7 and the notes, all members should have chapter 7 read before the meeting, and they should bring their notes and textbooks to the meeting.
  • Create a basic agenda for the next meeting. For example, perhaps you will review and discuss two concepts from chapter 7 that the group members are struggling with along with class notes that correspond with that chapter. Pick a place that will allow you to spread out books and papers and to talk to each other.
  • Establish a meeting time for each session. Try to choose the same time and day of the week for your meetings to establish the study group as part of your routine, which will help to ensure consistent attendance. Try to limit the length of the meeting; a 1-2 hour time limit will help to ensure members are focused and have the time to attend.
  • Exchange names and contact information and determine how you will communicate with each other should a change in the meeting time be necessary.