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Group Studying for Finals — Is It a Good Idea?


As the end of the current semester draws near, college students will be closing in on taking their final exams. Final exam scores are often heavily weighted in determining a student’s final grade. If you’re like most college students, the stress is starting to build as exam time nears. But, worry not because there are tons of resources out there to help alleviate your anxiety and give you the best shot at securing the best scores, one of which is study groups!

You might be asking, “With finals being such a crucial time, is it really a good idea to experiment with different study techniques for college?” And to put it plainly, yes! Among the various study techniques for college, study groups offer some excellent advantages if the process is organized and managed correctly. Plus, you can find some much-needed support in groups that focus on your more challenging subjects!

So, with all that said, it’s time to pull up your bootstraps, buckle down, and get to work on landing some solid exam scores, starting with a study group. In the following sections, we’ll focus on how to go about creating a study group and provide some essential tips to keep in mind along the way.

How to Go About Creating a Study Group

Before organizing any of your study groups, there are a couple of important factors to consider. First, determine which exams you think will be the most challenging. When it comes to time limitations and applying study strategies for college, it’s with these more complex subjects that you would benefit most from a group study.

Second, get yourself organized! This will allow you to form your study objectives. Once you feel organized, here are the following five steps to create your study group.

1. Recruit Study Group Members

First and foremost, you will want to focus your study strategies for college students on classmates with whom you have a lot in common. You should be recruiting students you feel comfortable communicating with, those with similar schedules to yours, and those who seem to have the same level of motivation as you.

It’s crucial to target these characteristics because your available study time is limited. You won’t have time for conflicts and certainly won’t carry the load for unmotivated participants.

Also, communication is a hallmark of any successful study group, so you’ll want to collect and distribute members’ phone numbers and emails to ensure appropriate lines of communication are available to everyone.

Note: The ideal number of members for a college finals study group is 4-5.

2. Set the Study Schedule

Once you have a set group of participants, get a consensus on a study schedule that works for everyone. As a group, you should agree on how often to meet and how long each session should run.

As you set out to establish this schedule, stay focused on the reality that not all members will attend all study sessions. Your efforts should focus on selecting times when the most participants can attend most of the time. Be tolerant and flexible when making this decision.

3. Determine Appropriate Places To Study

Balance is the key to finding good places for group studying. The potential locations should be quiet, with very few possible distractions. At the same time, designated meeting spots should allow group participants to communicate verbally without interrupting others in the area.

Study locations worthy of consideration would be empty classrooms, spacious libraries, a school courtyard, or designated participant residences. The key to securing maximum participation is finding a location as central as possible to everyone.

4. Agree on Which Subject(s) the Study Group Will Focus

Final exam study groups can be subject-specific or generic in terms of which topics would or could be included. If a study group is generic, the group’s focus should be pointed toward lending support to participants. By agreeing on subjects ahead of time, participants can anticipate which supplies they might need to bring and what information they should cover.

5. Set Study Goals

At some point, participants need to feel that they are adequately prepared to take their final exams. As a group, you should decide exactly how to quantify when everyone is ready and has gotten what they set out for by joining the group. Whatever those criteria might be is the ultimate goal of the study group.

College Study Group Tips for Finals

You will want to ensure that whatever study techniques for college you employ are directed toward your ultimate goal of successfully getting through finals with good scores.

If you’re going to invest your time into creating a study group, be sure you’re doing it for all the right reasons, like enhancing your knowledge of a particular subject or reaping the advantages it gives you and other participants.

With this in mind, here are seven college study group tips to consider when contemplating whether or not creating a study group is right for you.

1. Study Groups Promote More Efficient Learning

While studying information that challenges your knowledge base, you will likely struggle to understand key concepts. If you’re studying alone, it’s easy to waste a lot of time trying to get answers to questions. Study groups promote learning efficiency because fellow participants can ask questions and bounce ideas off one another.

2. Use Group Responsibilities To Drive Away Procrastination

Good study habits require a commitment to the studying process, but it’s easy to get distracted and find reasons to put it off until later. We’ve all been there.

Accountability is a great advantage provided by study groups. Since college students still tend to be sensitive to peer pressure, having a set study schedule for final exams with other participants counting on everyone else’s participation works well to offset anyone putting off study time.

3. Use Group Study To Alleviate Stress and Anxiety

Most college students feel extra pressure when finals time rolls around. Sometimes, if something important like graduation or employment is on the line, the stress and anxiety can reach a fever pitch.

College students tend to be social and usually feel more comfortable in groups. It provides a sense of stability and support. Also, each participant can benefit by motivating each other, which helps offset when someone starts getting frustrated or losing faith.

4. Draw on Group Resources

Each participant brings something a little different to the table within each study group because everyone has a slightly different knowledge base. In a group study environment, any participant’s question will likely be something that another participant can answer. This opens the door for all group participants to better understand the subject matter at hand.

Note: We all can serve as a knowledge resource if the people around us are willing to ask questions and seek our answers.

5. Shared Studying Efforts

Some subjects focus on lots of information that needs to be learned for final exams. If each study group participant has a heavy study load and only limited time, everyone might benefit by dividing studying targets up among the group.

In law school, you see this a lot where each study group member will focus on smaller portions of what needs to be learned. After each individual knows their part, they can summarize what they learned and share it with the other study group participants. That creates learning efficiency and saves everyone a lot of time and effort. It’s a classic case of “strength in numbers.”

6. Learn To Collaborate and Cooperate

Students are taught to think and act as individuals in high school and college. In the real world, co-workers and employees have to focus more on the collective goals of the company or business. For many high school students getting ready for college and college students getting ready for employment, a study group might be their first exposure to the concepts of collaboration and cooperation. By participating in a study group, they successfully expand their ability to work with others in any environment.

As part of the collaboration process, students can learn about things like sharing information and accepting conflicting ideas that might fly in the face of their own biases.

7. Make It Fun

There is no written or unwritten rule that says studying can’t be fun and enjoyable. There are certain study strategies for college students that can make the learning process fun. While interacting in a group study setting, there is nothing wrong with a bit of levity and relationship building. Good college students know when to study and when there is time for a bit of play.

While you contemplate which study strategies for college students might be available, make sure that group study gets your due consideration. If there is truly strength in numbers, then four or five college heads have got to be better than one when preparing to ace those final exams. If you’re looking for extra help, click HERE to view our Student Resources hub.

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