Study Groups For Non-Traditional College Students

WHY STUDY GROUPS ARE SO USEFUL

A study group for a college class is very useful for many reasons. A study group can help you get a much better grade. Also, you can meet people from your class in study group sessions and get to know them better. In addition, people in your group can help you focus on the important study topics in class so that you can cover more in less time. Nontraditional students can meet other kinds of students in a study group. Also, you will even feel more comfortable in class after you have met in your study group a few times.

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IN-PERSON STUDY GROUPS VS. ONLINE GROUPS

You can form study groups in person or online. I find that in person study groups are easier, but both kinds of groups are good to have. Most of my experiences using study groups come from groups made for face-to-face classes, but I did have at least one online study group. Both were really helpful to me. If you have a choice of having your study group either meeting online or in person I would choose in person, because it’s a lot more fun. You can talk and get to know each other a lot easier. But online study groups are also good. You can make a profile on these groups and they help to break the ice with other members of your group.

CHOOSING A GOOD TIME TO HAVE A STUDY MEETING

Most often, when a study group was formed, everyone got together first after class to decide when we would meet. Some people would want to have the study group meet after class. Some would want to meet before class (that was usually my idea). Others thought meeting an extra time before a test of quiz would be helpful. We all voted for which time everyone could make it. Most times, my groups decided to meet before class every week or two. This would not require an extra commute to school, and it was handy to meet at an area in the same building as the class so we could go right to class after we met.

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DIVIDING UP THE WORK

We had some hard tests and quizzes to prepare for; so my study groups usually divided the work in to sections. One person covered one subject or question, and the others did the rest. We made quiz cards up, too, and brought them to the meetings. Sometimes we quizzed each other, using cards or questions we brought in. This helped a lot to focus in on what we did and didn’t know – and helped each of us know what we needed to study the most.

Plus, making the cards helped us learn the material, too. The effort of writing down questions helped me learn the facts better. We also helped each other by reminding each other about assignments and answered each other’s questions.

MAKING THE MEETINGS

Sometimes, work or family responsibilities interfered with meetings, and some people could not come to one or more meetings. But usually, we still had enough people there to make each study group worthwhile. I found that having more than two total people in the study group really made sense. If I only had another person, if that person missed the study group meeting, I wouldn’t be able to study with someone at all, and it was a waste of time. This didn’t matter as much with three or more people in the group.

ASKING PEOPLE ABOUT BEING IN A STUDY GROUP

I was shy at first to ask people around me about being in a study group. But I knew I needed the help, and I knew that others probably did, too. I had to force myself to ask people around me. I tried to ask people before class, or at least before the teacher got there. And, of course, I asked people who I thought were smart, had a good work ethic, and seemed friendly. Also, because I asked people who were there early, I got the most motivated students to join. I would stop asking after four or five people said yes, because a larger group than that seemed too big.

Then I made a list with everyone’s name, phone number and email on it, and gave everyone mine too. I asked everyone if we could talk after class and decide when to meet after that. If anyone had a class right after that, we offered to phone or email that person to find out when was good for him or her. But usually it didn’t take long to decide when was good for everyone.

Everything just fell into place easily after that. We all decided when to meet and how often, and whether or not to have special study sessions right before a test. Sometimes we met in the class building, and sometimes other places on campus.

After I started my first study group, other groups became easier to start, because I got used to it and wasn’t so shy or nervous about it. I was surprised to find that a lot of other people thought a study group was a good idea, too!

SOME PEOPLE SAID NO

Not everyone wanted to be in a study group. When I asked people around me in class if they wanted to be in a study group, some people just said no. I didn’t let this bother me. Even if only two or three people would be interested, I figured that it still was a big enough group. The biggest group I had when I was in college was about six people. The smallest was two (which I don’t recommend because sometimes somebody forgets about it, and then you don’t get a good benefit from it. But if that is all the members you can get, then I would do it anyway.

WHAT MY STUDY GROUPS ACCOMPLISHED

I truly believe that having study groups for class (especially for difficult classes) made a huge difference in my grades. I think it helped at least one grade mark every time I was in a study group. Also, study groups really helped before tests. Talking with others and hearing what they thought would be on the test really made me remember facts a lot better than just trying to cram them in on my own.

Plus, many times, the people in the study group had noticed points the teacher said that weren’t even in my notes at all! Then I would see these things on the test and remember them. What a great boost that was. I found that I felt more prepared and wasn’t so nervous before tests, too. That helped me so much.

The other people in my study groups told me that they were also glad they joined the group. They said it made learning so much easier for them. I agreed with them!

AN ADDED BENEFIT TO STUDY GROUPS

I believe that I really connected better with other students by being in a study group with them. We would sometimes talk about other things besides class, and that made the study groups a lot more fun. We got to know more personal things about each other – like what everybody’s lives were like at home, and what people’s hobbies and interests were. It was a great way to make friends. Most of the people in each group were a lot younger, but when we had the time (at study group time) to get to know each other, it make it easy to be friends. That made going to class and studying a lot more fun.

I now had people I actually KNEW in class with me. It made being in class a lot more comfortable. I found that it was more fun waiting for the teacher to get there, and also made group work more enjoyable. And today some of us still keep in touch. I feel like I really made some good friends this way. I also felt more connected.

It was just easier to be in class, and also less intimidating. I was so much more comfortable – – and people talked to me more, too. It was a win-win situation to get to know people in my study groups, plus it really helped improve my grades.

So… I would definitely recommend being in a study group if you are taking a face-to-face class or in an online class. It sure helped me!