The rules of any study group usually decide whether or not it’s going to help you study.
A good study group needs to keep a positive and focused dynamic.
Do you have a study group that needs a set of rules? Be sure to share these with everyone in the group to get their thoughts.
1. Help Others (Not Yourself)
No one should go into a study group expecting other people to help them. They should go into the group looking to help other people.
For obvious reasons, this can improve the group dynamics. No one will end up taking over the study group for their own advantage.
At any moment, there are two main learning roles in any study group:
1. The Teacher
2. The Student
Everyone else in the study group is number 3:
3. The Observer
Observers get almost nothing from a study group. They might as well be watching a documentary or lecture about the subject. It can help but it’s not nearly as good as being 1 or 2.
In the perfect study group, these roles would revolve evenly based on people’s own strengths. When a student gets something better than everyone else, they teach what they know. When a student doesn’t understand something they work to learn it. Both teaching and learning will help you understand the subject better.
Some students (that shall remain nameless) come to study group expecting to always be the teacher or student. They want to be the center of attention. They don’t think about how they can help others learn best.
The group should always be encouraging each person into their best role for that moment.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect balance (because part of this comes down to individual preferences) but always pay attention to how much your contribution is helping or hurting the progress of the group.
2. Keep Up!
We all struggle to learn things at times.
Here is the thing…
If you’re struggling because you’ve studied hard and can’t figure it out, we would love to help.
If you’re struggling because you haven’t opened your textbook since the class started, that shouldn’t be our problem.
One of the best parts about study group is how the dynamics of the group add to the depth of knowledge. When one person falls behind:
- They have nothing to contribute.
- They can fall into a perma-student role.
Perma-Student Role: The student that’s always asking questions that everyone else in the group could answer easily. These questions add nothing to the depth of understanding because everyone else already has a deep understanding (and the question asker is struggling with the basics.)
By not keeping up, you’re hogging one of the two important roles of study group.
We want to help you. We don’t want to give you free tutoring.
3. You don’t have a personal life.
Thou Shalt Not Hit On Group Members
From the time study group starts to the time it ends, you’re not allowed to discuss anything personal. This time is only for intellectual discussion about the subject at hand.
We understand you might want to discuss your boyfriend or girlfriend or cat. That’s why you don’t have to show up. Heck, 5 minutes after study group we might even want to hear all the juicy details.
A study group without a solid focus is not a study group at all. It’s just a social gathering.
(And no… I don’t want to go out with you. People that interrupt my study group get on my nerves.)
We come to study group to learn.
4. Thou Shalt Share Resources
One of the best things you have to contribute is your own notes.
You know how you find yourself zoning out and daydreaming randomly through class? Well… everyone does that. Fortunately, not everyone does it at the same time.
By sharing resources, you get a broader perspective of what the teacher discussed. You may have missed an important point that someone else wrote down.
More importantly, you get a better idea of what the teacher emphasized. If you all wrote it down then it’s probably important.
5. Thou Shalt Share Ideas
One of the greatest advantages to having a study group is the extra sets of eyes you get to take advantage of.
Everyone sees something different. By getting multiple perspectives, you get to choose the one that you think is best.
This is particularly important with your class syllabus. Teachers often unintentionally create silly quirks that can be taken advantage of.
For example, many teachers make work that takes forever virtually worthless on the syllabus. If one student catches this disparity, all the students get the chance to take advantage of it.
6. Friendly Competition Is Good
No one wants to come to the study group feeling like an idiot.
That’s one of the major reasons study groups work so well. They force everyone to risk embarrassment. That makes them study before they go. Most students are willing to tuck away a bad grade and pretend it never happened but almost all students hate sounding like an idiot in front of classmates. (At the very least, they don’t want to be the only one sounding like an idiot!)
This competitive drive is a fuel to keep us all going.
We may play games in the study group. There will be losers. There will be winners. (And there may even be some excessive bragging from the big headed.) This is good. The only reason it won’t be good is if someone is cheating or someone is unprepared.
Studying hard and losing a competition is always better than not studying and winning.
This may look like competition against each other. That’s just to keep us motivated. The real competition is with ourselves.
Oh… and if you happen to want to kick butt in this competition you might want to read How To Crush Your Friends Grade in the members only area.
7. Don’t Be A Dick
Shouldn’t this one be obvious…
Since we focus on revolving between student and teacher roles, everyone is going to have their own “stupid moments.”
It’s okay to have fun with other people and make jokes but if they’re not getting enjoyment out of it then you’re being a dick.
Study groups rely on everyone’s willingness to participate. By being a dick, you’re decreasing everyone’s enthusiasm to participate. (One person getting insulted makes everyone else a little hesitant to participate too. They don’t want to be next.)
While most of these rules can be treated lightly, this is a major offense to the group.
Recourse will be dealt with in one of two ways:
- Kicking your butt to the curb.
- Collective dickishness towards you (because you totally deserve it buttnugget!)
Do you agree with these rules for study group? Do you disagree? Be sure to leave your thoughts below.
Do you know a study group that needs a good set of rules to keep it on track? Well… Share this!
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Kay W. is a 3.8 GPA student that spends most of her time on her hobbies and only studies when she gets bored. She originally found Smart Student Secrets 4 years ago and now she fights the good fight writing articles to help other students make the changes she made.
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