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Friday, November 13, 2009

Forming an Effective College Study Group

Posted by patrick

By Jim Sherman

A study group could be an important tool in your college education. By gaining different perspectives on a topic you may gain deeper understanding and comprehension. If you're in a doctorate program in which most study focuses on individual projects, you may not find a study group there but in college, the opportunity exists for the formation of a group.

To find (or form) a group, talk to classmates. Is there someone in your geography or math class with whom you think you might like to work and study with? Ask them. Make sure that when class is over, don't dash off to the next one, talk to your classmates and see if they're looking for study group members. If you don't make contact with peers, you won't be invited to a group.

1. Look for study groups that already exist and see if you can get an invitation to join them. Do you have any special skills or talents you could bring to the group? Are your writing skills above par? Do you know how to write a killer resume? These are traits that could help you gain entry. Also when you're looking to join a group, see what talents the other individuals bring to it.

2. Set up a schedule on when and where the group will meet, make sure it meets the needs and schedules of all the group members. When you have the time and location set, stick to it as it makes for easier planning. Choose a location - other than at the home or in a dorm room. Meet at a library, coffee shop or other quiet location.

3. While the ideal number for a group can vary, try to stick to no more than six. To few and you don't get a diverse enough base of knowledge, too many and the group dynamic could be unwieldy.

4. Have a plan for the study group meetings: what will you discuss? Will there be time in the meeting to do actual work on a project or will it be an information-gathering session.

5. Rotate the "leadership" of the meetings so each person gets an opportunity to set the agenda and it relieves the burden of having one individual be responsible for the meetings.

While you may think that college studying is a solitary endeavor, you would be surprised at the benefits you could reap from being part of a study group, especially when the rigors of the classroom threaten to overwhelm.

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