Studying as a group is far better than studying alone as long as you put your group together carefully. This isn’t a time to socialize or get together and procrastinate, it’s a time to divvy up the work load and fill in the blanks for one another when it comes to missed lectures, explained theories, or whatever it is that needs to be covered.
One of the most effective tools of getting together with others to study is paraphrasing. Think about it. The more you repeat an idea or concept, the more likely you are to commit it to memory. When you and others in your group continually start sentences with, “In other words…” you are breaking down a complicated idea into comprehendible material. Each member should read a page and break it down for the group in their own words. This type of group learning also helps give new perspective, develops work skills and goes a long way toward preparing for tests. Here are some things you need to know before you get started:
1. Your group’s success rate is only as strong as the people you include. Don’t have more than six people because productivity suffers with too many members. There should be one moderator to make sure that everything gets done in a timely manner. Make sure that everyone in the group has a strong desire to learn. An unengaged group member could bog the entire group down.
2. Everyone should come to the weekly meeting with their material studied and prepared to share. Every once in a while you should all quiz each other, too.
It’s a proven fact that students who work in study groups come to class more prepared than those who study alone. What’s more, the retention level is higher as well, as is overall satisfaction with the classroom experience.
As you can see, going it alone isn’t the best path to scholastic success. Sure, there are times when curling up with your text book is the only way to get things done. But if you incorporate a study group into your plans, chances are you’ll be anything but sorry.