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How to Run a Successful Study Group

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Posted on April 29, 2016 by Delaware Valley University.

A study group can be beneficial for everyone – even students who believe they're better at studying individually. As final exams near for students at Delaware Valley University, study habits are becoming more important. 

Study groups are beneficial because other people have different ideas regarding the material than you. They can open your eyes to a new idea or approach to the material that you hadn't thought of before. This can help you to formulate better essays or answer exam questions more appropriately.

Collaborating with others can also help you during the studying process because you're speaking and interacting with other people instead of just being in a confined space by yourself. It can be a more enjoyable experience and a way to integrate some fun into studying.

If you're interested in running a study group for yourself and a group of peers, find out some tips on how to make sure that it's successful. 

Choose the right spot.

Typically, a successful study group should be held in a place such as a library or a designated study area. Some libraries have areas designated specifically for study groups, such as rooms with a table or two, multiple chairs and a whiteboard. 

Choosing an area like this will help to keep everyone focused on the task at hand and will minimize distractions. If you're in an area such as a bedroom or a living room, it can feel a little too casual and relaxed, causing people to easily get off topic.

If you can't find a study space in the library or designated study areas, try secluded parts of your residence hall or café. 

Divide the information.

Many study groups find that assigning topics to different members of the group allows each member to become an expert on their individual topic. Each member then works to explain their topic to the rest of the group. 

Some people may also have a better understanding about a certain topic than the rest of the group, so it's beneficial for this person to explain it to the group.

Keep discussions open.

One of the best parts of having a study group is that there’s typically an ongoing discussion. This allows for good collaboration and conversation related to the material. An open discussion is what makes studying in a group more beneficial at times compared to individual studying.

In a classroom, students learn the same material but are typically in a quiet setting where they're only listening to the professor. When the students are in a study group, they have the opportunity to explore each other's thoughts and ideas, which can help them to understand the material more. 

If you think a study group may be helpful for you and a certain group of classmates, contact a few of them and see if they'd be interested in getting together a couple times before the final exam. 

Click here to check out DelVal's Center for Student Professional Development to find out how it can help you prepare for graduation, including polishing your résumé and helping with your job search.