Study groups, everyone’s heard of them and everyone knows how important they are. But what exactly are its benefits and how can we utilise study groups most effectively? There is often a culture especially in the selective school bubble where students are reluctant to share notes and cooperate for the sake of competition, instead favouring to work alone. However, whilst that may work for some students, for many of us, it is much more beneficial to work in groups. Study groups contradict that culture, encouraging teaching and questioning in small groups.
One of the main benefits is the support and encouragements that study groups can provide. For many of you, year 11 and year 12 would be one of the hardest and most stressful years of your schooling career academic wise. A lot of that stress can come from the sheer amount of work that needs to be done.
A study group can become a good support network. Getting support from those who are in a similar boat can alleviate some stress. Moreover, struggling students can ask questions in a less formal environment whereas ‘teachers’ also consolidate their knowledge.
Different perspectives are of paramount importance when tackling difficult questions. These different perspectives can come in handy whenever someone is confused about a particular concept and when dealing with long response questions such as:
Evaluate the significance of the visible emission spectrum of hydrogen to the development of the Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom? (4 marks) (ACE, Light and the Atom Week 7).
Often, these questions have a very specific marking criteria and it can be quite hard to obtain all the possible marks. However, with the help of several people in your study group, those questions can be broken down and approached from different angles.
Tips for Effective Study Groups
A study group will be most effective if there is a schedule. Don’t say to ‘meet once every week’. Rather plan out which times everyone is free and make sure to go to a quiet place where everyone can discuss and focus. An empty classroom is always a good bet if you want to stay at school especially during times like lunch times. Remember to take breaks and not to go too late into the night so that everyone is still refreshed.
Stay organised for the study sessions. Your study groups will only be as effective as the amount of effort everyone puts in. Be prepared for each session and remember to bring the essentials such as the syllabus and any relevant textbooks. Encourage everyone to be active and ask questions as difficult concepts can often be consolidated when you teach someone else. The ACE booklets provide a wealth of knowledge and there are many questions and concepts that can be discussed in a group for in the theory, PBC and tutorial sections.
Finally, a study group is there for everyone to work towards a common goal. Treat everyone with respect and come to the sessions eager to learn. Good luck!