For many college students, study groups are extremely helpful. You can either find a study group to join or start one of your own (a study group typically consists of three to four individuals with no more than a total of five students). The groups should meet at a minimum, once per week and each member should have a serious commitment to the group. One individual in the group should be the leader and will be in charge of keeping the group on track, making sure everyone shows up each week and participates and things like that.
Each week the group should discuss important points. This can be decided beforehand via e-mail, text messaging, etc. All students should have a clear understanding of what each week’s group discussion will cover so that he or she can bring appropriate study material with them to class.
Rather than only focusing on specific homework questions, divide weekly lectures into categories and go over key points from each lecture. Summarize the lecture in a page or less. Review the concepts either at the beginning of the session or at the end as a group.
Once you decide how long each session will be, break the sessions down by section. For example, you might open each session with a recap of the week before. Group members can voice any confusion they may have regarding things discussed in the previous week.
Spend the majority of the session working on problems and homework. Allow for a discussion at the end of the session. Be sure to discuss why certain members were able to easily solve the problem and why some may not have. This is a time for the students who had trouble to discuss why they were having trouble and what they did not understand. Students who easily understood the problem can be helpful in explaining how it was they came to answer the question.
If there was no homework for a particular class that week, be sure to use the textbook to continue problem solving exercises and to gain a clearer understanding of the class. Practice problems will likely be available online, so you can use the internet as a reference too.
When answering questions, make sure you understand the question exactly as well as the complete answer the question calls for. It can be helpful to write out how exactly you solved the problem (these notes can be made available to your study group partners for when they are outside of the group).
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