Some people swear by study groups as a great way to mug for the exams together with friends. Study groups are a common sight in schools, libraries and cafeterias especially nearing exam period. For some students, a good study group can be their replacement for home tuition in Singapore. However, sometimes after a study session, you may go back thinking that the study group was perhaps not the best use of your time.
What are the Advantages of Study Groups?
Sure, you could always study alone – but the main boon that study groups bring to the table is the opportunity for discussion among your peers. Study groups are usually made up of people from the same class, cohort or course, as it is usually better to organise study groups where everyone is studying the same subject. Often, study groups also comprise of a mix of stronger students and weaker students in the subject they are studying. This helps weaker students to be able to clarify their doubts with their peers. We all know the feeling of poring over a difficult question without any idea how to solve it. With your friends there at the ready, you will easily be able to ask them any questions. Additionally, two heads are better than one – if a problem has been stumping the whole group, study groups make for great opportunities to put your heads together and work on solving the problem. Through discussion, it is more likely that the group will arrive at a lead than if one were to puzzle over the problem alone.
At the same time, stronger students can also reinforce the concepts they have learned by explaining them to their coursemates. It is often said that the best way to learn a concept is to teach it. Teaching can also open new perspectives and help everyone see the concept in a different light. Sometimes, a different view may be all you need to come to that eureka! moment.
What Makes a Study Group Ineffective?
Unfortunately, though organised with good intentions, it is all too easy for study groups to become ineffective and result in students going home wondering if the session was just a waste of their time. If you are feeling similarly unsatisfied with your study group, it may be time to re-evaluate the group’s environment and see if anything needs to be changed.
Large Group Size
The optimum group size for study sessions should be around three to five students. It is best not to invite too many students, or the study area might get crowded with not enough time for each person to discuss.
A study group is only as focused as its students – if someone has been slacking off and distracting others, the rest will be less able to focus even if they want to. To avoid this, make sure you know that the people you invite are interested in the study group for the right reasons. If you realise after a few sessions that a particular member is less committed to the sessions, you may want to talk to them privately about it or look for a replacement.
Poor Ground Rules
Are phones allowed? How often should you take breaks? What constitutes as slacking off? These are all ground rules that should be established at the start of a study session. Make sure everyone agrees on them.
If everyone comes unprepared to a study session, chances are you will leave with little gained. Be sure that everyone knows to come with a list of topics they want to discuss or have problems understanding. Take turns going around the group to share, so that nobody hogs the entire session.
Where to Find Study Group Mates
You may have considered asking your friends to join your study group, but if you are all in different disciplines, where else can you find people to study with?
For a start, your classmates usually make good candidates as they are studying the same subjects at the same level. Being in the same class means that you have probably covered the material at a similar pace, or at least know where the class is at in the topics. Studying with your classmates also means that you can discuss homework problems with everyone on the same page.
Alternatively, if you attend tuition, you could also ask your tuition classmates to join your study group since everyone is taking the same subject, such as JC Chemistry tuition. While you may all be from different schools, you can still talk about the problems you encounter in school or tuition. This is also a great way to look at the material that other schools have and share your resources.
When done right, a study session should be rewarding and enlightening to all involved. There is nothing better than working together with your friends to achieve a better grade!