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We’ve all been there before. It’s the night before an exam, and you’re hunched over a book or a laptop cramming information into your brain while the kids snore happily upstairs. You’re thinking about your regrets instead of the material you’ll be tested on in a few hours. Why didn’t you start studying sooner? Why haven’t you been studying all semester long? Learn how to study in a group with these great tips. 

First — give yourself a little break. As an adult student, you have a lot going on. You’re doing your best!

Second, start thinking about what you could do differently next time. When you have better study strategies, you’ll have better time management…and much less stress. At Point University, we’re always happy to talk to you about study strategies that could be effective for you. Our Educational Resource Center provides tutoring services to all Point students.

You’ve got one more tool at your disposal, though, and it’s one you can utilize at any time: study groups.

10 Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Study Group

Studying in a group can dramatically increase your effectiveness as a student. In a study group, you can more comfortably get help on challenging class material, use study time more efficiently, and share knowledge with fellow students.

Study groups, however, do more than just help you pass an exam. By broadening your social circles to accomplish community goals and share knowledge and expertise with others, you deepen both your educational and your spiritual experience.

What are the benefits of group study?

Study groups offer a wealth of benefits. Here are just a few:

1. Interaction, Not Isolation

Another person can answer a question better than a book or website can. And conversation is a lot more engaging than reading alone. A study at Washington University in St. Louis found that, in an effective group, everyone teaches each other and retains that learning better. Other students will be knowledgeable about the topics that challenge you. And, likewise, you can help others with the topics that you know very well. A group marks accomplishments together, and shares successes.

2. Remote Study

Though it’s easy for on-campus classmates to get together on or around campus, off-site students may feel they have limited study group options. But think again! Online and Hybrid students can still be a part of study groups. Technologies like Skype, Google Hangout, or online meeting platforms make it possible for remote or evening and weekend classmates to study together. Community can happen through a screen!

3. Accountability

On your own, you’ll use any excuse to avoid sitting down at the desk. It’s easy to postpone a solo study session — you have no one else to answer to and plenty of other things to do. But when you are a part of a study group, you have a responsibility to support the others in your group. Your classmates are there for you, so you need to reciprocate, not procrastinate.

4. The No-Shame Zone

Ever have that feeling that everyone in class gets the concept except you? That makes it pretty hard to raise your hand in class and ask a question. Within your study group, however, there truly are no stupid questions. You’re even doing your classmates a favor by asking for their help. By teaching the concept to you, they’re reinforcing it for themselves. And often when you ask a question, you’ll find that you weren’t the only one confused!

5. Take A Second To Relax

6. Mix it Up!

Changing locations that you study in can help drastically improve your mood and make you want to study way more.

7.  Find the Right Size

Ideally, a study group should be four or five people. Three people can work, but another person or two increases your knowledge base and creativity level. Six people is as large as a study group should ever be. Much more than that, and you’ll begin to get distracted by side conversations rather than working effectively as a team.

8. Time for Group

Your study group should be as much a part of your regular weekly schedule as your classes. Meet at the same time and place, once or twice a week. Meetings should be from one to two hours. Any shorter and you won’t get down to task. Any longer and you’ll bog down and lose focus.

9. Make a Plan

Each study group meeting should have a clear learning objective. Before you get started, agree upon what you are going to accomplish in the session. Have the conversations with each other: We will cover the review questions for chapter eight today. We will memorize these seven formulae. We will understand Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act III. If you don’t get specific, you’ll waste valuable meeting time.

10. Come Prepared

A group should also have clear expectations of its members. Study materials such as class notes and textbooks, should always be in hand. Class attendance is also essential — being a part of a study group is not a pass to skip class. Remember: you never have to go it alone. Not only are Point University’s faculty and staff behind you all the way, your fellow students can be an outstanding resource as you journey through your education. Use them!