- Do you like to study in groups?
- Do you have a particular class you want an extra edge in?
- Do you want some leadership experience?
Then consider a self-directed study group!
What: A self-directed study group is a group of students that meets on their own schedule to study, compare notes, and prepare for tests in a specific class.
Who: Usually, the group is made up of students who want to augment their in-class study by talking and working with classmates.
When: You and the other team members decide meeting times.
Why: Self-directed study groups can help you:
- learn and retain more of the subject you are studying,
- learn and apply leadership and group skills, and
- apply your learning to other areas of study.
Studying Alone vs. Study Groups:
|Studying Alone||Study Groups|
Tips for an Effective Study Group:
- Aim to have 3-6 members who are willing to meet for 1-3 hours 2-3 times a week at consistent times.
- Assess each member's strengths (who's good at math? who's a fast reader?) so you can rely on each other for different things. Assign tasks based on these strengths when possible so everyone participates.
- Come prepared by reading and working on the material ahead of time so you know what is giving you trouble. Don't expect your group to teach you everything (if you need one on one attention, meet with a tutor ahead of time).
- Stay organized and focused by having a group leader redirect distractions and keep you on task. Typically the group leader is the person who organized the group, but someone else in the group could be agreed upon.
- Try to set an agenda using a study guide from your professor, focusing on certain chapters or topics, or at the start of the meeting ask each person in the group what he/she would like to cover and write a list on a white board. Pace yourself and keep an eye on the time!
- Take regular short breaks so you don't get burned out.
- After a week of meeting, review how the group is running by asking everyone, "What is working well and how can we do more of it?" Keep the tone positive.
- Do NOT copy! Not only will you get charged with academic dishonesty, you won't learn the material.