Do’s and Don’ts: College Study Groups

Academics in college can be more time-consuming than you are used to. There are lots of different ways to study and prepare to succeed in your classes. A popular study method in college is to form study groups. Having other students to study with can help with accountability. Here are some tips for how to successfully participate in an effective study group on your college campus.

A group of students studying together around a table.

Do: Set up a weekly schedule.

You will want to make sure that this schedule works for everyone in the group. Try to meet at least once a week, and be sure to find a meeting space that is located in the middle of campus. Consider using your campus library, a residence hall study area, or even your student union. Your college campus library may have study rooms available for students to rent out during the semester. You can book these study rooms in advance to ensure you have a private and quiet place to study with your college study group.

Having something set on the calendar will help everyone commit to actually showing up to the study group instead of bailing at the last minute because you couldn’t find a place to host the group. This also eliminates the time spent trying to set up the next meeting with the whole group – organizing an event with college students isn’t always the easiest task. Use a calendar!

Don’t: Rely solely on the group.

While college study groups can be a great resource for learning class information, still take the time outside of class and your study group to put in work on your own. There might be certain aspects of the material from class that will be easier to understand if you go over it by yourself. Then, you can bring what you know to the study group and help other members. You can schedule your own private studying time on your calendar to ensure it doesn’t interfere with your scheduled study group sessions.

Do: Invite your classmates.

They are in the class with you, hearing from the same professor, and going over the same readings and notes. Utilize that community to create the ideal study group! If you are having trouble with a certain topic, you can turn to these people and they might be able to help you get a grasp on it. Be sure to work on your assignments on your own if your professor has not said you could work in groups. This will prevent accusations of cheating.

Don’t: Have too many members.

While study groups can be a great way to learn classroom material, if there are too many people, it can be easy to get distracted. If a lot of people from your class are interested in getting together to study, consider having two different study groups that meet on different days. Then students can go to whatever one works best for them, and the groups should be smaller. Double-check if your library study rooms have a capacity before booking them with your college study group.

Do: Ask your study-mates questions.

While you may be an expert in some material and lacking in others, they might have the knowledge you are looking for. Don’t be afraid about asking them questions; you are all in the study group to help each other succeed. While you’re in class, write down the concepts you don’t understand to ask your professor about them later on. The information they give during office hours could help a lot of other students too!

Don’t: Be completely unprepared.

While it is acceptable to ask others questions, be sure that you are not showing up to the study group without anything to contribute. Complete the readings, start the homework assignments, and come prepared with notes and questions so the group can be productive. When you’re unprepared during study groups, you can slowly start to fall behind on your work and readings.

Those are some of the dos and don’ts recommended for a college study group. Be proactive in all your classes; it is easier to start out on top of everything and stay that way than dig yourself out of a hole. Your classmates can help you a lot, and remember that it is perfectly all right to go to your professor or teaching assistant with any big questions or concerns you have.

Do: Be flexible and forgiving

It may not be possible to attend every study group session, especially if you have other things going on in your life at the same time. Be flexible with your time and forgive yourself when you can’t make it. Just because you miss one week doesn’t mean your grades will suffer for the rest of the semester. Get back on track next week!

Don’t: Talk too much

It’s nice to see your friends while you’re in your study group, but this isn’t the best time to socialize. Of course, you want to have some conversations with your study group members but if you’re talking too much, you’ll forget that you’re there to study. Implement breaks throughout your study sessions meant for socializing and grabbing snacks to keep you from spending too much time talking about your personal lives.

College study groups are a great way to come together, make studying more fun, and help make studying easier. Happy studying!

If you’re still looking for ways to pay for your next semester, use College Raptor’s scholarship search tool to find all the scholarships you’re eligible for.

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