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What is a Study Group?

A study group is a small group of students, usually between 4 - 7 people, enrolled in the same class or program.  This type of group meets periodically throughout the semester to review and discuss class material and coursework.  Study groups allow students to engage in a process called active learning.  Students engage with each other and pool their knowledge.  Group members also offer encouragement and support to one another.

Start by identifying a specific need.  Next, try to identify other serious, dedicated students in class.  This can include students who come to all class meetings, take notes, submit homework on time, and ask questions.  Keep in mind, a study group is not a social club. 

For a study group to run smoothly it is best to appoint a group leader.  This student helps fellow group members organize their thoughts, suggest study methods, and insures all students have an opportunity to ask questions or explain ideas.  The group leader acts as a guide, but does not control the discussions.  During group sessions each student is the “expert” and explains information to the other students.  Group members can create mock exams, construct and solve problems, exchange notes, work on assignments, and prepare for exams together.

Forming a Study Group

If you need help getting a study group started contact the Teaching & Learning Center (TLC).  Send an email to or stop by the TLC which is in room 105/106 of the Manhattan Tech main building.  Once your group has discussed when they want to meet you should contact the TLC faculty and staff to assist with room scheduling and to provide additional learning tools you might need. 

You may want to ask your instructor for suggestions about group activities and topics.  Ask your instructor to make an announcement in class letting other students know that you are forming a study group.  Identify a time that you all can meet to discuss group goals, meeting times and expectations for the study group.

Tips for a Successful Study Group

  • Set topics at the beginning of each meeting to avoid wasting time
  • Select a group leader who is calm, reliable and open to suggestions
  • Start each session by comparing lecture notes to make sure you all heard the same thing
  • Encourage everyone to participate
  • Be patience, but keep in mind that all of you will learn more if everyone has something to share
  • Invite new students to join you, even after the group has formed
  • Spend 15-20 minutes discussing specific topics, allow all group members to share their ideas, and do not let one or two people monopolize the conversation
  • Test each other on the concepts, pose open-ended questions, and take turns answering them
  • Encourage each other to solve problems to reinforce their understanding
  • Sessions are most productive when individual members have worked independently on a problem beforehand and come together to share and discuss the solution
  • Group leadership can be rotated so that no one person bears a disproportionate amount of the work
  • Study groups are not substitute for attending lecture labs

Preparing for a Study Group Session

  • Whenever possible, plan your study group time within 24 hours after a class meeting so that information will be fresh in your mind
  • Re-read the textbook or lecture notes, and mark points that you do not understand for clarification with your study partners
  • Review your notes and highlight to emphasize main topics or ideas discussed during class
  • Develop a list of 5-7 in-depth “test” questions similar in scope to those typical of your instructor
  • Try to answer the questions yourself before sharing them with your study partners
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