Studying with a group is fun, and can be very productive. Actually, it can often be the best way to approach a particular subject area. However, managing group study time can be challenging.
If you are anything like me, staying on task in a group is difficult. For example, I have a hard time staying focused when my study group insists on making jokes about chickens and roads. The temptation to be distracted by very corny jokes, discussions about great parties, and why most of the profs on campus are completely unreasonable is high. If you find that you can’t bring people back to task with a topic-related question, or that your group is too easily distracted, try moving to a quieter study area with fewer distractions. Ultimately you need to understand the material. If the group continues to be dysfunctional, find another group, or study on your own. Remember, chicken jokes will not impress a professor on a final exam.
To focus your group, try some of the following tips:
- set a goal of how much material you will cover
- identify key definitions and quiz each other
- each person come up with a possible test question; then try to answer the questions
- work on the sample problems and share the process/solution
- each person come up with a memory aid to learn a different part of the course content
- if course content is controversial, set up a debate and back up your positions with material from readings and lectures
for how to study effectively in groups
for why study groups work...
Kris & Anita