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Why Start a Study Group?

Nov 30, 2007
First of all let's take a look at what a study group is. It's where you meet on a regular basis with other students who are studying the same subject as you are. Within the study group you can discuss what you understand of the subject, what you don't understand with the hope that someone else there can explain it to you in a way that you do understand, and also to talk about any class assignments or presentations that may be required as part of the subject.

Study groups meet at a number of different places, and have a varied approach to the format of the group. Some study groups are very informal, perhaps meeting in one of the member's homes where a supply of snacks and drinks are provided by the student's parents.

Other groups are more formal and meet in more traditional places such as an empty classroom or school library space that's designated for group work. The formal study groups are usually run to some kind of agreed schedule with a list -- either written or voiced -- of items to be covered at each session, whereas informal groups tend to approach their meetings with a more flexible attitude of just chatting about whatever seems relevant at that time in what they're learning.

There are many advantages to being part of a study group. These include: Increasing your motivation to study as it's more fun within a group environment where there is no expectation to "perform".

There's a supportive environment that provides a place to admit that you don't understand something without feeling ashamed. You can ask questions of your study group members that you wouldn't be comfortable enough to ask in front of an entire class.

You get the win-win situation where not only do you get help, but you gain confidence in the subject by being able to answer the questions posed by other members of the group on areas of the subject they don't understand.

If you missed a class you'll be able to catch up using both the notes of the other students in your study group, plus the verbal input from the class that they can give you.

When you are involved in group work you won't feel that you are alone and looking for a group -- your study group is a ready made unit that already knows how to work together and recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of each member.

Revision time can become more focused with each member of the group being responsible for a particular area. It can also be less stressful as there won't be such a feeling of isolation as the group will meet to discuss their revision and to have group discussion on the possible kind of questions to appear on any test along with the possible answers.

A study group needs to be formed with certain agreements in place. These should be discussed and agreed at the first meeting. You should have a schedule of meetings, a place to meeting and what kind of group (formal or informal) you want to be. If all members of the group accept the terms of belonging to the group, you're all set to go. If there's some discord then you need to either negotiate on some points, or have 2 study groups form on different formats so that each student is comfortable with the group they belong to.

If there isn't a study group for a subject that you believe would benefit from one (or more specifically, you would benefit from) investigate the possibility of setting one up and find out what level of interest there would be from the rest of the class. You aren't looking for a mass sign-up; even 4-6 active members make it a viable group that all should benefit all.
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at http://www.aimhightutors.com/blog
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