With the end of the school year approaching, it’s time to start thinking about finals!
Instead of spending a week of sleepless night before finals, wouldn’t it be better to spread the studying out over the next several weeks? A great way to make sure that happens is for your son or daughter to create a study group.
What does a study group look like?
Study groups take many different formats, but, at minimum, as the name suggests, it’s a group of people that get together at a specific time and place to study. They can take various forms:
- Each student brings whatever it is each needs to work on and works independently
- The study group is focused on preparing for a specific class or test, and they work together and or ask questions or each other when they need support
- The study group meets regularly for a particular class, and the students plan ahead what is to be covered together in the study group and how it is to be covered.
What are the benefits of creating a study group?
1. It’s just more fun to do something with your friends!
The more positively a student can look upon their study time, the more engaged they’ll be in the material, which means they’ll remember more and understand more.
2. You can get immediate support and feedback.
If a student gets stuck on a concept or a problem, the student can ask for help instead of feeling frustrated or getting bogged down.
3. Being a teacher helps you learn the material too.
Having a friend ask you to explain a concept might show you that you don’t understand it as well as you thought you did! It gives you a great opportunity to test yourself on a deeper level than you might if you studied alone.
4. It creates a time a place that is devoted to studying.
There is social pressure to stay focused, on task, and off of their phones and Instagram. I’m a big proponent of planning (What gets planned gets done…what doesn’t get planned gets procrastinated on!) and having a planned time and place to study makes it more likely that studying will happen!
How to have an effective study group
Most importantly, invite people who actually want to study. Of course you want to hang out with your best, most fun friends. But if your objective is to study, you need to make sure that the people in the group are the ones who are going to encourage that, rather than discourage it.
Get clear on how accountable you want to keep each other. Do you want people who will call you out when you pick up your phone? Or does that feel like nagging to you? Will it be distracting to you if there is chit-chat happening in the group? Make sure that everyone is on the same page by saying, “Hey, so we’re REALLY studying, right?” Check out the Forest phone app for group phone accountability!
Get clear on the goals for the study group. Is everyone going to do their own thing, or do you want to work through and discuss a study guide together? Maybe each person in your group can “teach” a different section of the text while everyone takes notes. Or each person can do a mind map or take notes to share on each section. The more organized and structured the study session is, the more each participant can benefit from the effort and intelligence of the other students there.
Creating a study group puts studying on your calendar. If that was the only benefit, that alone would be huge! It will help you bring a more positive, open mindset to studying, allowing you to get more out of the process. And if you look for ways to work together in your study group, you’ll be able lift each other up when you get stuck or are losing motivation.
For more tips on studying, check out these blog posts:
- Tips for studying for exams and getting through finals
- How iPhone’s Screen Time feature can help kids find more study time