In the world of formal education, few of the many ways of testing students’ level of understanding in a knowledge area is through the conduct of examinations, organization of seminar and presentation of final year projects by students who have attained their final tenure especially as undergraduates.
So, to make sure that you do well in all your academic activities including and project research (both individual and collective projects) and to push forward to the next level of your academic journey, students have to put in, if possible their 100% effort.
However, your ability to perform in an any of examinations and final year projects often times depends on how well you understand the questions and the research project topic respectively, how well you have prepared for them and your ability to retain and recollect information. Therefore, in order to perform well, you need to adopt good study patterns that would help you understand, retain and recollect information.
Unfortunately, many students perform badly in an exam because they have failed to adopt good study habits. The list of good study patterns goes on and on from; watching YouTube videos to help you understand topics better to preparing for exams early and avoiding distractions while studying.
But one of the most effective study patterns is actually one that we are all familiar with; Study groups
Group study is one of the most effective methods adopted by a good number of students as a good study habit to enable them to do well academically. It consists of a small group of people usually found in academic institutes who come together on a regular basis to discuss and share ideas in their field of study.
It is good to study in groups because it exposes you to a lot more angles and perspectives on a particular topic, that enable you understand a topic better by sharing unique insights among each other. Also, when you are involved in group study, group members motivate and encourage each other to do better.
Benefits of joining study group
You definitely need a well-constructed and complete note to prepare well for an exam. Study groups are a good platform for students to compare their notes and fill in missing paragraphs in the notes they may have missed during lectures.
A solution to procrastination
Study groups usually have a fixed time and location to meet. This discourages a student’s tendency to procrastinate. If you study alone, you can decide to read whenever you like or decide not to read at all. But in study groups, there can never be an excuse for all group members to not show up for a meeting. If you fake an emergency situation or say you are sick, the group would still meet with or without you. You are trying to adopt a better study pattern; ensure you are not absent from group study sessions for some flimsy excuse.
Learn about another perspective of starting study groups
Helps you learn faster
When you study alone, you can spend hours trying to understand a paragraph. But in group sessions, anything that is not understood by a group member can be tackled within few minutes by a member who understands it better. This way, you are able to cover up the school’s academic curriculum before you realize.
Uncover new perspectives
When you study on your own, you would always understand a particular material from just your perspective. But studying in groups help you to understand a particular topic better as group members tend to have different perspectives and insights on various issues. This will also help you develop good thinking skills as you study.
Discover new study skills
Studying in groups with different people grants you an opportunity to discover their study skills or study habits that work for them. If you are not comfortable with your current study pattern and do not know what to do about it, you can talk to your study group members. Who knows? They might have a better pattern that would work for you.
By actively engaging with the study materials, textbooks and sharing ideas among group members, students learn better. Hearing different perspectives from group members’ help students learn and understand subjects better.
How to Form an Effective Study Group
It is not just about forming a study group. If the study group is not effective, then the reason for being in a study group would be defeated.
For your study group to remain effective you must have clear objectives and goals, read properly before meetings, stay focused and ensure every member participates or contributes during meetings.
To form an effective study group, you need to think of;
How many group members
Keep your study group small. A study group of 4-6 persons is perfect. If the group is too large, the members may end up getting too familiar with each other and begin to socialize forgetting that you all ought to study. Also, when the group is too large, some members hide behind others and never contribute to the meeting. A small group helps to ensure active participation among members.
Who would be a member of the group?
Your study group should comprise of students who have the common goal of getting better grades. Your study group should not include students who do not come to class or never take notes. They generally tend to pull the group backwards. Only serious minded, hardworking and determined individuals should be a part of the group.
Where to study
Locations with minimal or no distraction is preferably those that are noisy. Your study group may decide to use the school’s library or quiet classrooms for their meeting sessions. You all can also decide to use outdoor locations as long as you would not be distracted or be a distraction to others. Note that all group members must be comfortable with the location picked. This is important to enable every member function and contribute maximally.
When to hold meetings
You should pick a time that is comfortable with everyone. It is not advisable to miss classes in order to attend group discussions. If your study group plans to meet once or twice a week, it should be at a time that is convenient for everyone. Having a fixed time for meetings not only helps members incorporate the routine to their schedules, but also gives members time to prepare prior to the meeting.
If you are not going to create a new study group yourself, you should strongly consider joining an existing one. Know this; all study groups are not created in the same manner. To ensure your grades get better, choose a study group that is relevant to your academic needs. You can’t be in a study group for law students while you are studying math. Also, choosing a study group that socializes less is a better option for you.