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Why Study with Peers

Understand material in a deeper way.

In most classes at U-M, students are expected to apply their knowledge to new situations or problems rather than simply memorize facts. When students work in groups, they have the opportunity to explain concepts, discuss ideas, disagree with one another and reason through why one person’s answer is different from another. It also allows students the opportunity to see how other students grapple with course concepts and what strategies they use to attempt to make meaning of the course material. In addition, being able to articulate a concept to another student often requires a fuller understanding of that concept, which then also means the student will more likely be able to apply that concept in different testing formats.

Improve your note-taking skills.

Sharing notes with peers allows group members to see the various ways their peers organize course content but also which concepts their peers consider important and/or “test worthy.” Ultimately, this activity can help all group members to more effectively organize and utilize their notes.

Take advantage of each person’s strength.

Each group member has something different to offer to the study group, whether it is the ability to organize well, take notes effectively, stay on task, or create effective test questions. Additionally, each person processes information differently based on past experiences, previous knowledge, and the lens through which he/she sees the world. Small groups can benefit when members share information, strategies, and personal experiences.

Share the workload.

An effective group can save time as tasks can be divided between members.

Increase your motivation.

Having a set day and time to study with peers can help members keep up with studying rather than putting it off until the night before the test. Additionally, studying with other students can make learning the material more enjoyable and serve as a stressrelease, especially before an exam.

Solve complex problems.

It is often easier to work through a complicated math problem or a physics question with other students in the class. Each student may understand different aspects of the problem and may be able to help the other group members see different ways of approaching and solving the problem.

Prepare for the work world.

Most professional careers require collaboration with colleagues on projects, so college study groups are excellent practice for this.