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Studying alone is good but sometimes it helps to find a good study group. Image Source

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.

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Use your skills to help others and make sure to let everyone else help you sometimes too. Image Source

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!

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Study group shouldn’t be your only study time. It’s your responsibility to keep up. Image Source

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:

  1. They have nothing to contribute.
  2. 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

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There are good times to enjoy yourself as a group. Study group is not that time! It’s the time we are supposed to be learning stuff. Image Source

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

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Shared notes give you more perspective on what’s important. Image Source

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

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Competition can make learning faster and more fun when used right but pay attention to number 7!Image Source

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

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Study groups are about studying. If you interrupt that with a bad personality then we can’t help you. Image Source

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.

Here’s a Pinterest-worthy image for sharing ?
7 Rules of Study Group – Here’s a Pinterest-worthy image for sharing ?

Recourse will be dealt with in one of two ways:

  1. Kicking your butt to the curb.
  2. 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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7 Rules of Study Group

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18 thoughts on “7 Rules of Study Group

  • April 20, 2021 at 10:26 am

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  • December 30, 2020 at 12:29 am

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  • October 2, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Quite helpful, actually. Cheers!

  • October 1, 2020 at 4:41 pm

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  • August 10, 2020 at 1:53 am

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  • November 21, 2019 at 5:04 pm

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  • December 8, 2016 at 12:15 am

    This brought back so many memories…both good and bad haha. Study groups can be risky, I’ve had both extremes of very productive and lazy experiences. I will however, say that teaching a subject to someone else is one of the best ways for you to remember objectives for exams. You can’t explain something you truly don’t understand. One advice would be to be aware of the groups study habits, and compare it to your own to see how productive the group as a whole would be.

  • November 29, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Great set of rules to go by. I am going to link this article to my study group to get (force)them to follow the rules haha . Having said that, we do the important ones well and work off each others strengths. Any more rules we’re missing?

  • November 28, 2016 at 7:12 am

    This article should definitely be read by every student. (If you are serious about combine studies that is. )
    The point of sharing notes is wonderful. It is actually true in a way. Most of us have our own style of taking down points. Some people are an expert in note making. It is pretty obvious that you might have missed out some points maybe because you are not fast enough. Sharing notes resolves this. Also, like you said, if all our group members are the ones who perform well in academics, naturally we will also tend to prepare before we go to study in a group! 🙂

  • November 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Great post!
    Rule 8: Don’t eat during study group.

    Loud is annoying. Poor manners is disgusting. Packaging is loud. It’s all risk and little benefit.

    • November 16, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Yes… This one definitely belongs here. ^^^^^

      I don’t want to know how poorly someone chews while I’m trying to study.

  • November 15, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I always get annoyed when my study group gets off track.

    Okay… I lied.

    I always am to blame when my study group getes off track. But I have good intentions!

  • November 14, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    I love these rules.

    If I had a quality study group then I’d share them. Unfortunately virtually everyone in the study group is breaking one of these rules! haha


    • November 16, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks for the comment! (You can always start a conversation with it. Maybe it could do some good?)


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