How to Organize an Effective
College Study Group
Counseling and Psychological Services
University Center, Suite 109
[email protected]
www.utpa.edu/counseling
Why a Study Group?

Great way to prepare for exams.

Students can teach each other
different materials.

Groups can reduce study time.

Sharing talent.

Note taking reinforcement

Support system

Socializing

Cover more ground
Tuckman’s Model of
Group Development
How to Work Effectively in Groups
Step 1
Get to know each other.
Step 2
Assign roles if the project requires working together in a group for an
extended period of time to reach a specific goal.
Step 3
Exchange contact information to enable group members to communicate
effectively outside of scheduled meetings if the project is long term.
How to Work Effectively in Groups
Step 4
Identify the group's goal. Discuss and document the group's goal to make
sure you all agree on the primary goal of the group's work.
Step 5
Divide tasks into steps and assign each member a specific task to attack
long term projects.
Step 6
Listen to each other and encourage each other.
How to Work Effectively in Groups
Step 7
Deal immediately with conflict if it arises. Although
difficult to deal with, conflict or discord in a group
can undermine the group's objectives.
Problem Solving Model
1. Define the Problem
2. Gather Information
and Data About the
Problem
3. Analyze the Problem
4. Develop Solutions
6. Monitor and Measure
the Results
5. Implement the Solutions
7. Adjust as Necessary
Guidelines for Getting a
Group Together

How many?
Create a group of four to six
people.

Who?
Pick classmates who seem
to share your interest in
doing well in class. Look for
people who stay alert in
class, take notes, asks
questions and respond to the
instructor’s questions.
Guidelines … Continued

Where?
Hold study group sessions
in a place that is free of
distractions and that has
room to spread out books
and notes.

How long?
Study groups should meet
for no more than 2-3 hours
at a time.
Guidelines … Continued

When?
If possible, try to meet on the
same day and time each week.

State objectives and goals
Knowing what you want to
achieve at each session helps
the group stay focused and
manage time. A designated
session leader should state what
goals are.
Guidelines …. Continued

Be prepared.
Before session, be sure to finish your assigned reading,
review notes and list topics you want to go over. Bring
possible test questions.

Take turns teaching
When you instruct the group, you not only help the
other group members, but also reinforce your own
knowledge.
Guidelines … Continued

Stay on topic.
For each session, assign one member to be the
taskmaster. This person’s job is to steer the group
members back to the topic if they begin to drift.

Take breaks.
Schedule 5 minute breaks after every
½ hr. or so of work.

End of meeting
End each meeting with assignments for
each group member
Review of Steps for
Effective Study Groups

Establish logistics in advance.
Date, time, place where meeting will be held.

Ask each person to create a mock test question
Bring to meeting and explain corresponding answer.

Assign a topic to each students before meeting to become “experts”on.
Create a document that highlights the most
important information. Bring copies for all group members

Complete review guides before group meets
Bring to group and share your answers.

Bring questions to the study group meeting.
The group can work together to answer the questions.
Avoid Groupthink
Groupthink:
Someone in the group
comes up with an idea
and everyone accepts the
idea without considering
better alternatives.





Prepare list of questions
for the professor.
Avoid dead weights.
Avoid group members
who are too dominant.
Don’t be afraid to
disagree.
Always come to group
prepared.
Study Break Tips for
Exam Week
1.
Take a brisk walk or jog.
2.
Watch mindless television
3.
Read a novel
4. Watch a funny movie
5.
Have a study snack.
*Team Building Activity*
Plane Crash Scenario
Instructions will be provided by presenter.
Group Discussion

How did your group reach their decision?

What roles did group members adopt?

Did they listen to each other?

What have you learned about the functions of a
group? Each other?

What would you do differently next time?
Counseling and Psychological Services
Counseling and Psychological Services
University Center, Suite 109
956-381-2574
[email protected]
www.utpa.edu/counseling
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How to Organize an Effective College Study Group