How to Form a Study Group

And Keep It on Track

Imagine you're competing on a game show for a million dollar prize, and you're challenged to come up with a mystery story, complete with clues, a good twist, and a surprise ending. You have a half hour to complete your task, and you're pretty relaxed until you see your competition. You're playing against a team of five students your age, and they can collaborate on their work!

Chances are, most students would prefer to be on the team of five, because groups offer a variety of view points and strengths.

No one person can do everything well, but a group of students working together can get great results in a shorter period of time.

In the game show example above, the group of five would be more likely to come up with better results at a faster pace because they would probably benefit from having a variety of skills and learning styles--like an analytical person, a good note taker, a lateral thinker, a person with great recall abilities, and a person who is able to explain things well.

Study Group Tips

If you decide to form a study group, you will need to establish some rules or guidelines to keep the group from losing enthusiasm.

  • Limit the size of your group to three to six students for best results. Too many voices adds confusion.
  • If you have eight or more students who are interested in group study, simply form two groups and mix the membership from time to time. This will avoid hurt feelings and avoid having a stronger and weaker group.
  • Don't feel you have to limit yourself to study only with your friends. Pick smart people who do homework if your goal is to improve your grades.
  • Establish a regular meeting place and time and encourage each other.
  • Give your group a name. This will give the group a stronger identity and encourage participation.
  • At your first meeting, encourage each member to talk about his/her strengths that will help the group.
  • Take turns acting as group moderator, to keep the conversation on topic. The moderator should speak up if the conversation drifts too far from assignments.
  • Predict test questions and quiz each other.
  • Create a code word or prize for good ideas. Everyone likes to receive a pat on the back. Come up with a special word or small reward to congratulate group members when they come up with a "zinger."
  • Come up with a friendly word for members who are slacking off. Use it as a warning to encourage them to pull their weight!