Study groups are possibly the most under-utilised (not-used), yet one of the most beneficial study methods available. Studying with someone has many benefits, and a study group can help you be more time efficient with your study and motivate you to complete more study.
Time efficient study groups
Study groups help you to be more time efficient with your study, because it allows you to share the load. Within a study group you have the benefit of sharing study notes, and resources. Splitting up who is writing which summary, can be a great time saver and provide you with good study resources with you putting less time into creating them.
For example, if your group was studying Factors Affecting Performance, you could each do one or two critical questions and then come together and share your notes ready to start doing exam style questions.
Motivation and study groups
Furthermore, study groups can help to motivate you in your study. If you are writing summaries for yourself, for example, and would rather watch TV or get on Snap Chat, you might not bother completing them. But, if you have 3 friends waiting for that summary and you are going to be collecting summaries from them, you are much more likely to complete the summary to avoid disappointing others in your study group. You are also more likely to write a higher quality summary if others are going to be using it and it will reflect upon you towards your peers.
You can even set challenges within your study groups to see who can compete the most exam questions, or get the better result/feedback from your teacher. I remember hearing a story about a couple of boys who studied together. They both had a crush on the same girl and they hated math. They decided the person who completed the most questions for math could ask her out. They both worked their buts off to complete as many as possible… only to discover she wasn’t interested in either of them.
Creating study groups
It is very important that you choose quality people for your study groups that you know will produce work that you can rely on and is at a good level. No point creating study groups if you won’t use the summaries or advice that come from them. Peers can be great at explaining things you are struggling to understand, and will need you to teach them at various stages, which helps develop your understanding even further.
It is also important that the people in the study group are reliable. You need to be able to set times to get together and know that everyone will show up on-time and prepared. If your study group constantly misses meetings or start 30 min late, it will soon not meet at all and have become a waste of time.
You don’t need lots of people, even 2 is better than 1. I recommend 3 people in a group. With 3 people there are enough study group members to share the load and for each of you to benefit sufficiently, but also not so many that people can slack off and not do the work. You will get a further benefit if you have people in your group from different schools as well. Different schools present things differently, and provide different resources. Your study groups can provide you with access to these if you select well.
You could even go a step further and create a study week during the holidays. I remember hosting a study week at my house during my HSC. I had friends from various schools come and share and teach each other. We all benefited from each other and the different teaching methods and resources our teachers had shared with us.