College Life : Study Groups

Why study groups are an advantage
The advantage of participating in a study group is that when more eyes and brains combine, points of particular interest are often identified. Moreover, the student receives far more feedback and gains access to a creative process during which several students inspire each other and refine their way of thinking.

A study group is not accountable in  terms of the course, e.g. by having to submit a joint assignment. A study group is  thought to be a course supplement in which h the student chooses to invest his/her
time and effort.  Study groups are organised in many different ways, and the level of ambition may  vary. This leaflet does not offer a sole “recipe” as to how a study group should be  structured, but seeks to pass on experience as to how to profit from being part of a study group. The aim of this leaflet is to provide tips, tricks and advice on how to  make a study group as beneficial, constructive and effective as possible. The reward of study groups is evident both in your day-to-day studies and in relation to exam results. Below you will find some specific examples of the ways in which you may benefit from participating in a study group.


Motivation increases
when you explore your discipline together with peers. You
Effective study groups offer a forum for debate in which you are able to share your knowledge and have that knowledge challenged, and it increases your motivation and your learning outcome to express yourself in an academic manner
You need to commit and observe deadlines If you study alone, it may be  difficult to pull yourself together and study/process all academic material prior to the  exam, as you are only responsible to yourself. Students who belong to an effective study group tend to be well-prepared in order to be able to engage effectively in
debate at an advanced academic level. Thus, the study group motivates you to  prepare thoroughly, and you are likely to get more studying done.

Your interpersonal skills and your independence evolve. Group work grooms you to show consideration for others and pay attention to their ideas. And being  challenged by others often causes you to
form your own academic position. Thus, you  are, hopefully, able to go beyond relating  text material and debate the context of the  text material, its strengths  and weaknesses as well as academic issues to which they  give rise.

You spot academic issues. Your fellow students often ponder other aspects than
you. To consider the issues they put forward and by trying to provide an answer  hereto, you will almost certainly be challenged academically. You may also consult
other group members about important academic issues – which is a great way to receive input, while at the same time benefiting from the process of formulating a question - an active way of processing text material that helps to improve your learning skills.

You benefit from explicit knowledge. That which may seem evident to you, is not necessarily evident to other members of yourstudy group. Thus, you get to elaborate on knowledge which otherwise would
remain unsaid or subconscious and, consequently, useless at exams.
Your oration becomes clearer.You are forced to learn to formulate yourself, so others are able to understand you. This is crucial, when you are to display your academic competencies to for example lecturers and external examiners. To be part of a study group will, for most students, make demands on interpersonal skills and conflict may arise. Conflicts will often be hidden and usually cause a bad atmosphere. The result may be that the members of the group remain silent, stay away from meetings or work less dedicated and effectively. It may be hard to share knowledge if you have a conflict-ridden working relationship. You neither can nor should solve all conflicts, especially not if the conflicts have grown in magnitude. Consequently, you should seek to nip any conflicts in the bud in order that you may return to enjoying a profitable working relationship. Remember to accept that you do not work and think in the same way, and try to take this into consideration when you are discussing academic issues. There is no requirement that you should agree on world views or political views as long as you respect the agreement of the study group.