5 ways to developing an effective study group

Posted on Wed, Feb 21 2018

Ijay's Desk Category


Study groups have proven to be an effective tool in educational systems. Students do engage in it in preparation for presentations, examinations and general learning. No doubt, it is an acivity that has made impact in our educational systems. Study groups help students see things from different perspectives with regards to a topic. It also helps make concepts clearer for students that have difficulty understanding such topics.

Some students do well in group study while others don’t. It is therefore important you know what works for you so as to fully optimize the process. Whatever be the case, group study if not well managed can actually become a waste of time for all parties involved. Some actually turn it into a socialization ground.

How then can members of a group study make it effective such that it will fulfil its purpose? Let’s look at some of these tips.

Have an agenda

It is important to have an agenda before coming together for a group study. Having an agenda for each session entails knowing what course or topic to discuss. This means that prior to the meeting, each group member should be aware of what to discuss. Prior communication will help everyone read up the topic so it will be easier to dissect.

In having an agenda, you also get to allocate a time to the discussion. Know when to start and when to stop. For a group study to be effective, it’s better to do 2-3 hours long. If it becomes too long, there is a tendency to begin to drift to matters outside the goal of the discussion. When I was an undergraduate, the way it works for I and my friend is that we choose which topic to discuss, read up on it, agree on a venue outside our comfort zone and ensure we stick to it. When we get to the venue, we can use some time to read up the topic again after which we come together to discuss what we have read.

Choose a serene environment void of distractions

In a group study, it is better to use a venue outside your comfort zone and one that’s void of distractions. In this case, you will not be tempted to feel relaxed while studying. For instance, if you decide to use the room of group member as the venue, there is a high tendency that you will be too relaxed in this kind of atmosphere. Some might even be tempted to sleep. So many things may pose as distractions, so it's better you stay a distracting area. Also, choose an arena where people will be free to make contributions to the study.

Choose your study partners wisely

The crop of people you select as study group partners can make the whole exercise a futile attempt. If the group consists of people who are not interested in learning or improving their grades, seriously, you will end up achieving nothing. However, if you think you can manage people that may be unruly, then you can include them in the group. It is advisable to keep study groups between 4 to 6 people. Anything more than this may pose a challenge and turn it into a socialization ground. When the group is smaller, everyone will have the opportunity to contribute but when bigger, some may hide behind others and not contribute a farthing.

Everyone should participate in the discussion

Group discussion is not sermon time or lecture time. The reason why it is called group study is to have divergent views on a given topic and to aid better understanding of the said topic. The purpose of discussion will be defeated when just one person does the talking. Ensure everyone get to participate and also ask questions. Assign topics to people beforehand. This will help people prepare well.


Be focused and stay focused

At the onset of the group discussion, there are goals and objectives set out to be achieved. Ensure that these objectives are met at the end of each session. It’s always safe to appoint someone that will be committed to managing the group so that you will have a productive session. Cover every subject you set it out to cover for each session.

In addition, be committed to the time and location you use for the discussion. Stick to the time that works for everybody. This will also help people prepare ahead.

So, that’s that on developing an effective study group.

Does study group work for you? What are some of the strategies that have helped your study group achieve the purpose of study group discussions? Do tell me in the comment section.


Photo Credit : Marquess photography


Faith Ijeoma Ezenwere

Hi there, My name is Faith Ijeoma Ezenwere. I am a Broadcast Journalist/OAP and a teen coach. I am passionate about building a community of impact driven Teens and young adults in all spheres of life. In simple terms, I help Teens/Young adults live their dreams. Welcome to my World!

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