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10 tips for a great study group!

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Exams are tough! Forming a study group for a few weeks leading up to exams is a great idea. Once you’ve formed a study group, use these simple tips to ensure you get the most out of the experience:

  1. Set the ground rules.  How often will you meet, for how long (1-1.5 hours is ideal), by what means (face-to-face or virtually), who will arrange the meetings, and what happens if someone cannot attend
  2. Work out ‘what’ the group needs and ‘wants’ to study.  The best way to do this is to discuss what areas you feel confident (and less confident in), and how you like to learn as everyone is different!
  3. Work out ‘how’ you are going to approach the topics. Case-based approaches usually work best – not just sitting together and doing online quizzes and modules.  Present a topic and discuss.  Remember to focus on all important topics.
  4. Prepare for each session.  Group study shouldn’t be for learning textbook knowledge – that happens beforehand. Group study is for learning how to apply it.
  5. Stay focused.  Appoint a moderator for each session to make sure everyone stays on track and doesn’t get distracted.  Be particularly careful of this as the group becomes more established as friendly chit-chat can take over!
  6. Take some short breaks during the study session.  This helps to stay on track.
  7. Evaluate how the group is going.  Every few weeks take a few minutes of the session to make sure everyone is happy with the way the sessions are going.
  8. Summarise.  At the end of the session, take time to iterate what you’ve covered that day, and lay the plans for the next session.
  9. After the session – write a list for yourself of what information you need to consolidate or clarify, and personalise any materials used in the group (e.g. summary notes) so that you can reinforce the content.
  10. Have fun!  For the next few weeks the books will be your best friend.  So take some opportunities to make study enjoyable – even if it’s just taking some snacks to your study group!
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