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Using a study group

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Published: 3 December 2021

A study group

When you started applying to study at the University of Sunderland in London, you most likely were thinking about yourself.  

Obviously, that’s not a bad thing. You have goals for your work and academic life and a degree is the best way of achieving your aims.  

But it’s worth remembering that there are lots of other people on your course, all experiencing the same things as you.  

Sometimes, working together can be a brilliant way of learning more and achieving your full potential. That’s where study groups come in.  

What they are  

We each have our own strong suits, the things we’re great at, the academic subjects that just come more naturally to you.  

A study group is a way of bringing together different skill sets to improve everyone’s learning experience.  

You each go through your notes, talk about what you’ve learned and pick up things from other people’s perspectives.  

The idea is that you come away with a deeper knowledge of the subject so when it comes time to write your assignments, you will be able to cover more than if you’d just studied on your own.  

How to get the most from your study group  

Pick the right people  

The most important factor behind any study group is the who makes it up. Firstly, you should all be dedicated to getting a great grade and learning as much as you can.  

A good number of people is between three and five, any more and it can be overwhelming and not much will get done.  

Finally, try to keep study sessions to about one to three hours. Too short and it will feel rushed, too long and people tend to lose focus.  

Be prepared  

Everyone should come to the session as ready as possible. That means looking through your notes ahead of time, knowing what you’re going to be talking about and being open to hearing other opinions.  

Stay focused  

It’s easy for study sessions to just turn into social events, but remember you’re there for a reason.   

It might help to have a leader. Whether that’s the person who set up the group or someone you choose together, they should keep the conversation on track.  

You can always do something fun afterwards.  

Meeting places matter  

Deciding on where to meet is a surprisingly important part of getting the most from your study group.  

Whether that is somewhere around the University, in a coffee shop or anywhere else, pick a place that’s comfortable, not too loud and has enough space to fit everyone.  

Other things  

There are a few more points to think about when you’re planning a study session.   

Everyone should bring their notes with them, for example. It’s also a good idea to do your studying in blocks, taking breaks in between.   

Try the 25-minute study, five-minute break rule to start with.  

And finally, make sure you do a wrap up at the end, maybe agreeing on things to discuss in your next session.   

Have you put a study group together? We’d love to hear about it.   

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