BlogStudyHow to Organise Study Groups with Friends So They ACTUALLY Work

How to Organise Study Groups with Friends So They ACTUALLY Work

Study groups can be an effective way to help you stay motivated and get work done plus they’re fun and social!

But do you often get distracted in a study group? It’s easy to just end up hanging out with your friends and not get any work done.

With these things in mind, we’re going to show you how you can organise your study groups so instead of wasting time, it’s where you do your most effective study!

Tip #1: Have a Maximum of 3 People
Tip #2: Set Specific Study Times
Tip #3: Structure Your Study Sessions
Tip #4: Share Your Screen in Online Study Groups

Tip #1: Have a Maximum of 3 People in Your Study Group

That’s right, you need to set your study group to a maximum of 3 people and there’s a few good reasons why.

#1: Less ability to focus

Now, this is feedback from working with thousands of students who have organised study groups so listen closely.

When you’ve got more than 3 in your study group, there’s usually a lot more chit chat and hanging out. That means, you barely get any work done because it’s harder to stay focussed and much easier to join a conversation instead of working.

#2: Teaching the content you’re learning

The next reason to have a maximum of three in your study group is just as important. We all know that we learn by teaching. If you’re able to teach it, that means you understand it.

That’s why it’s so effective to take turns teaching each other in your study group. If the 3 of you teach for an hour, you each get 20 minutes of teaching time and 40 minutes of asking questions and learning from the other two ‘teachers’.

If you have more people in your study group, you ultimately have less time to teach because there’s more people who need to do it, so it isn’t the most effective use of your time. Basically, you want to find the sweet spot where you’re getting a good teaching ratio and diversity of opinions from the other two when they teach.

#3: Who should be in your study group?

You also need to think carefully about who you choose to be in your study group. Whether you choose to create a study group with two students who have the most similar subjects to you or create one for each subject, it’s important that they either have the same motivation as you or a higher level.

Why? Because if they’re demotivated, they won’t be able to contribute to the study group and might ending up dragging the group down. So, think wisely about who to study with and whether you’ll have a general study group or one for each subject.

Tip #2: Set Specific Study Times

If you don’t set specific study times and stick to them, it’s just not going to happen. Whether it’s a free period you all have every Wednesday at 2pm or outside of school on a Sunday afternoon, set that time and commit to it each week.

Treat it like a non-negotiable. Make sure you’re all on the same page, send out a calendar invite and make sure you all commit to it. That means arriving on time and working effectively!

Trying to stay more organised? Check out how to make a study plan here!

Tip #3: Structure Your Study Group Sessions

Having a clear structure for each study session is a must! Instead of wasting time because you have no plan, having a structure will guarantee that your study session is effective because you know exactly what you need to get done.

Be sure to set your goals for each session so everyone is on the same page and knows what needs to be achieved by the end of the session. One of the best ways to do this is by writing your goals down. If you can see it, you’ll believe it.

How can you structure your goals?

There are different ways of structuring your goals. One is that you all agree to independently study on your own at the same time, but you have each other there for accountability.

So, this means you would share what you want to tick off your checklist before the end of the hour and then at the end of it, you can check in with each other to see how you all went.

The other structure is based more on collaboration. So, you might be working together as a group to come up with answers for a specific topic like an essay plan in English or short answers in Science.

What you should be trying to do here is work out how you would best approach the question. This is very helpful because it allows you to see different ways of thinking and means you get through a greater sum of practice questions a lot quicker because there are 3 of you working together! 

Don’t forget to set your goals before the start of the session like a specific number of questions you want to complete as a group and evaluate your progress at the end.

Another goal that you might end up setting is teaching each other a specific subject. It’s important to make clear exactly which syllabus dot points you’re going to be teaching each other.

Make sure you divide them up equally, so you’ve all got an even amount of teaching to do. It’s a powerful way to get all that information in your head!

Tip #4: Share Your Screen in Online Study Groups

Whether you choose to do an online study group because it’s more convenient or because of something to do with COVID, make sure you all turn up and of course, plan your goals for each session.

Now, we’ve got a little hack for you! If you’re studying for an hour online together but you’ve all got separate goals for the session, you can each share your screen for 20 minutes.

That means you’ll either be sharing your screen or seeing your friend’s screens for the entire session which will help you stay on track and not get distracted.

It will hold you accountable because you’re not going to go and watch a YouTube video while your screen is being shared and you’re meant to be studying. Your friends will see, and they can tell you to get back to studying. 

So, there you go!

Those are our tips for how to organise a study group with friends, so it ACTUALLY works! It’s how you can transform an unproductive study session into a much more productive and valuable one!

If you’re on the hunt for other resources to keep you motivated, check out some of our articles below:

Looking for some extra help with study?

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Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.

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