Studying with a group or a classmate, can be an effective study method. Providing structure to the study time can make the session even better.

Study Group Activities

students studying together reading at a library

Here are several suggestions for activities to use during your study sesson!

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Review and clarify information

Take turns summarizing from your text and lecture notes. After each section and talk about what you understand and clarify what is unclear. Building off what other group members say. This activity helps to foster a strong initial understanding of the concepts.

Compare notes

Ask everyone to share their notes. Compare and contrast them to identify what might be missing, or perhaps incorrect. This is also a good way to see how other people take notes - you might identify a technique that can help you improve your note taking skills.

Teach each other

Divide up topics and take turns presenting to the group. Describe connections between the main ideas, names, dates, vocabulary, and other concepts and ideas. Try to summarize concepts in your own words. Use a whiteboard to draw diagrams or mind-maps. After presenting, ask if anyone has questions, or can add to the discussion/diagram/mind-map.

Outline or mind-map

Work together to create an outline, mind map, comparison grid, timeline, or process diagram from the learning materials. Information recall improves when placed in relationship to other pieces of information. Have one person draws from memory what they remember, then others add what they remember, too, then you all revisit the text, videos or lecture notes to add missing information or correct anything.

Identify key ideas and important vocabulary

Have each person take 5-7 minutes to identify some of the most important ideas emphasized in the learning materials. Then, compare your lists and talk about the different ideas you’ve identified. In vocab-heavy and technical courses, use a whiteboard to compile a list of key vocab for the week. Clarify the definitions of each word and identify a few examples or applications for the concept.

Do you like flashcards? While you’re discussing, start a list of words or concepts for flashcards. Mix pictures and words. Practice your flashcards until you know the information in both directions. Use the cards for quick reviews while waiting for the bus or doing laundry.

Do and talk process

Take turns showing others how to do different problems. At the end of each problem, talk about how it’s different than other problems or similar to other problems. Identify key areas where mistakes could be made. Call attention to the concepts involved or the formulas used.

Quiz each other

Make up test questions from texts, class notes, and other sources. What would you put on the exam if you were the instructor? Put away the information and see if you’re able to recall it from memory when asked a question.

Take turns asking the group a question from the book, lecture, or notes. Mix up questions from different chapters to test yourself in a realistic way. Note what you already know really well and what you still need to work on. That will give you the ability to budget your time appropriately as you get closer to the test.

Try splitting your group into two and each create a set of test questions. Once both groups have finished, exchange tests. Take the unfamiliar tests, and then discuss your answers.