How to Form a Study Group You Want to Attend! Contributed by Debra LaSala
Why form a study group? Why do you talk to your friends about your favorite show you watch the night before or recount the plays to the latest football game you watched? Because as humans, we learn by talking and socializing. Study groups are an effective way to learn the material in a class that you are having difficulties with. You are able to ask questions, bounce ideas off other people, compare notes, and review for tests. This will allow you to be better prepared for your tests as well as focus on study WHAT IS WORKING FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Don’t you want to just study the things that are going to help you on the test? If so then …. form a study group!
First Things First! You are the one taking an initiative to start a study group so you have to be prepared to run the show. Get yourself organized and develop a plan. Follow these steps to help you get started: • Decide your personal goals for the study group. • Determine where you will meet. • Decide on the time to meet. • Decide who you want to invite to be in your study group. • Determine your agenda. • Decide How to Invite people to be a part of the group. • Record the Date of the Study Group and stay committed!
Deciding your GOALS for the group. Obviously, you are wanting to start a study group because you are having trouble in a class. However, you need to think about what you want to accomplish in the study group. Since you are the one starting it, you will be able to take lead in determining the focus of the group. Here are some questions to ask yourself. • Do I want support or help on how to take notes from the professor’s lecture format? • Am I having trouble studying for the professor’s tests? Do I need help determining what to study for the professor’s tests? • Do I need help figuring out what exactly to read from the textbook to prepare myself for the test? • Once you have Determined your needs, set an agenda.
DO Pick a place that will allow everyone to focus on the study group and is not too distracting. Pick a place that is comfortable. Pick a place that will feel safe for EVERYONE. People’s houses are not a good idea until later on. Pick a central location that is easy to get to for everyone. DON’T Pick a noisy or high energy place. Suggest to meet at someone’s house the first few times until everyone gets to know one another. Pick a secluded place that is hard to find or out of someone’s way. Determine where you will meet For the first session, you will need to decide where you will want to meet. After the first session, the group can decide if everyone wants to continue to meet at this place, or if another place would work better for everyone. Some suggestions for places to meet are local bookstores (Ex. Barnes and Noble) or rooms on campus.
Decide on the time for your first meeting For the first session you will need to set a time for everyone to meet. Here are some tips to keep in mind. • The time should be convenient for everyone. • The time can be flexible, but everyone should be clear when to meet and where. • Pick a time that does not interfere with special events that would encourage people not to attend. REMEMBER, the success of the group is determined by everyone participating!
Setting an agenda Based on the needs that you have determined in the previous slide, create your agenda. Here are some tips for things that an effective agenda should include. • Where you are going to meet. • Decide who will be the group leader. This person will need to be responsible for leading discussions and keeping everyone on track. • An approximate time length of the session. Most study session last between an hour and an hour and a half. • Topics to focus on (ex: comparing notes from lecture sections – what did the professor seem to stress?, comparing notes to the most recent exams, studying old exams from previous semesters, discussing where material for the test seem to come from) • Include a reward for the end of the session. For example, the session may be followed by watching a favorite TV show or attending a social event. • This website has some great templates to use in order to organize an agenda based on different study group objectives: http://muskingum.edu/~cal/database/general/group.html#Worksheets
Who to Invite? You will need to make a list of the people you want to invite to be in your study group. Remember these tips to help you make your list in order to have an effective study group. • The people in your group will need to get along and have some things in common. • Scope out the class and pick out the “smart” students. You will need them to help contribute to the group. • Pick people who are committed and are responsible. The success of the group will depend upon everyone’s participation. • Keep groups small so that everyone is comfortable and things will move at a faster pace. This will also make it easier to keep everyone on track!
How to Invite People Now that you have set your agenda you will be able to express your goals for the study session. If students are serious about their grades, they will value joining a group that will help them raise their grade. Here are some ideas for getting the word out about your study session: • Announce the idea at the end of class • Post the first meeting on the class discussion board • Place a flyer outside of the classroom
Recording the Date and Staying Committed! Once you have formed your study group, make sure you attend the sessions! Record the date on your calendar or in your Palm. If you have determined a good date and time, it should be easy for you to attend. Make sure everyone records the date and time in their organizational system and remind each other during class. If you make it enjoyable and meaningful, your study group will be something you look forward to and value.
NOW YOU ARE READY! Now that you have read the directions and tips for starting a study group, it is time to put what you have learned into action. • Follow the steps outlined on the linked study guide plan to develop a plan for your first study group session. You can use the resources listed on the next slide if you need more help. • Click here to use the study guide plan template in order to plan your first study group. After you have developed your plan, review this presentation to make sure you haven’t left anything out.
Resources: Here are some websites that were used in the information presented in this presentation. They offer beneficial information about forming study groups as well as keeping them going. • Study Groups:Befriend the Class Know-It-All: http://www.collegeview.com/articles/CV/campuslife/study_groups.html • Muskingum College Study Group Worksheets: great resource for outlines in helping you develop an agenda. http://muskingum.edu/~cal/database/general/group.html#Worksheets • http://www.coun.uvic.ca/learn/program/hndouts/studygr.html
Put your Plan to Work Now that you have your plan, PUT IT TO WORK! Follow your plan and start your first study group – you will not be disappointed!
Alternatives for Study Groups Having trouble finding a place and time that is convenient for all group members? If so why not move the study group into Cyberspace. • Form a study group in a chat room. (Ex; My space, Google’s Doc & Spreadsheets, Blackboard, etc.) Just because everyone can’t meet face to face, doesn’t mean you can’t discuss on line. Determine a specific time, distribute the web address and directions for communicating, and conduct your study group via Cyberspace!