6 Steps to Forming a Successful Study Group

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Working with a study group can be one of the most beneficial and rewarding things that you do during your time in nursing school. Studying with classmates can help you better grasp important information, not to mention, helping others understand a tough topic can give you a great sense of accomplishment and motivation!

In order to reap the benefits of a study group, though, you first have to form one. While that may seem easy to do, crafting a successful and diligent study group requires a few essentials. Here are six steps to follow to form a successful study group.

#1: Get People Interested During The First Week Of Class

When it comes to studying in general, it is always best to start as early as you can, and study groups are no different. Spend the first week of class figuring out who you might like to be in your study group – pay attention to those who participate in the class discussion, have done their reading beforehand and appear to be good students – and mention the idea to them. Don’t ask for any commitment yet, just let them know about your idea to form a group and gauge if they might be interested. 

Study Group Tip: The ideal study group size is 3 to 5 people.

#2: Get Contact Information

Once you have an idea of who might be the right fit for your study group, determine the best way to get in contact with them. If your nursing program uses a platform like Blackboard or Canvas, you can use the class roster function to message classmates. If your school has a campus-wide email server, you can look up people’s names to get their email addresses. If you can’t find someone’s contact info using the resources available to you, try to catch them at the end of class one day and simply ask them to jot down their email or phone number for you.

#3: Determine When Everyone In The Group Is Available

Once you have made contact with group members and they have committed themselves to being part of the study group, the next step is to figure out when everyone in the group will be able to meet. This can be one of the trickiest parts of forming a successful study group because everyone will have different schedules and obligations that they have to prioritize. Try using an online tool, like Google Calendars, Doodle or When2meet, that lets people put in their individual schedules and then layers everyone’s personal calendars on top of one another. You can then identify open time slots when everyone in the group should be free.

#4: Plan To Meet On A Regular Basis

To have an effective study group, it is best to meet at least every week or two. Setting meetings on a regular basis will help group members get into a good habit of attending them, and it will also help your group keep up with the information presented in class and prevent you from falling behind. Meeting in the same location each time can also help your group stay focused. Check and see if your school’s library or student center has group study rooms that you can reserve so you know your favorite location will always be available.

Related Read: 5 Habits to Adopt Now and Start Your Semester Off Right

#5: Pick One Method Of Communication And Stick With It

Once you and your groupmates get more comfortable working with one another, you might exchange more detailed contact info, like phone numbers or follow each other on social media accounts. This is a great way to unify your study group, but it can create potential problems when it comes to communicating about meetings. Some of your classmates might want to keep their personal communications free of school-related contact, so it’s important to establish boundaries of when and where the study group can be talked about.

During your group’s first study session, talk about the different ways that you would all prefer to communicate with each other – email, Groupme, texting, etc. – and then pick one method of communication and stick with it for all study group-related things that you need to talk about. By using just one line of contact, you can prevent group members from feeling overwhelmed by the group’s communications.

#6: Establish Guidelines and Expectations Early

If you’ve ever been a part of a group project where one person doesn’t pull their weight, you know how frustrating it can be, and the same thing can happen with study groups. You can help prevent this issue by establishing some guidelines for how the group should operate during the very first meeting. Set expectations that everyone can agree on and jot them down in a notebook or a shared document so that you can refer back to them if concerns arise.

Being a part of a study group is one of the best things you can do to give your grade a boost, and following these steps can help you get a study group started right! 

Ready for more nursing school success tips? Follow our blog for helpful resources that will guide you to productive semester.

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