Here at the Centre for Student Success, we offer students the opportunity to attend facilitated study group sessions for certain courses. These are one hour long discussions where students come together to offer their interpretations of course concepts, clarify ideas, and hear suggestions on better study and note-taking skills. We even go over practice questions! We offer this service because we believe in the benefits of studying in a group. So, whether it is by participating in a facilitated study group on campus or by forming your own study group with classmates, your time spent studying with a group can be really helpful to you.
As students ourselves, we understand the busy schedules many students face every day. Many students wonder why you should spend an extra hour per week on a course you already attend 3 hours of lecture on and spend even more time doing weekly readings. The answer is in the research.
The benefits of group study have been shown to help students not just academically, but also socially. Yes, it is possible to be social and study at the same time! Fleet, Goodchild, and Zajchowski (2006) suggest that study groups improve students’ ability to work in collaboration with others and help students form social connections that are vital to their success in university. Having a social network of fellow university students is handy: they can help remind each other of upcoming tests or assignments that otherwise could have been forgotten (Fleet et al., 2006). (Remember when you almost forget that online quiz you were supposed to do?) Social connections are also useful for discussing assignment instructions, comparing lecture notes, or suggesting outside services and resources that could be helpful for a particular course (Fleet et al., 2006). Study groups are a great way to make these social connections that ultimately help you academically in the long run.
Kenneth Petress (2004) further looked at the social benefits of study groups and found that they may even help one affectively. Affective benefits relate to how you feel and express your feelings. Some of the affective benefits of study groups include increased self-confidence, increased assertiveness used to express ideas, as well as fine-tuned interpersonal communication skills (Petress, 2004). All these skills, he notes, are transferable to other tasks, roles, and jobs. That’s right–the skills you practise in study groups can even help land you that dream job!
In addition to the social benefits of study groups, research has also shown that they help students academically. Petress (2004) notes that simply explaining what you know to another student could help solidify that knowledge for you. What further supports your learning in study groups is answering probing questions (Petress, 2004). Working through answers in study group can help to decrease exam related stress since you become more aware and confident in what you know (Petress, 2004). Study groups have been found to help to enrich students’ learning and increase motivation in students (Fleet et al., 2006).
Still not convinced you should try studying in groups rather than by yourself? Well, one last benefit is that group study has been shown to be more effective in completing tasks, decision making, and generating solutions than when individuals work on their own (Hay, Bochner, Dungey, & Perret, 2012). So, if you could use some extra motivation to get work done, a study group may do the trick.
Ultimately, the most important factor to ensure a study group’s success is that independent, individual studying should take place prior to the group meeting. Students will get more out of facilitated study groups or their own study groups if they have attended the lectures, done the readings for their course, or engaged in some individual review beforehand.
In our first semester of leading facilitated study groups, we have seen evidence of these benefits in our sessions. The social benefit of getting different perspectives was shown when a group of students worked together to generate ideas for an assignment and when students shared lecture notes with each other. Also, when a student showed up late to study group and another student summed up the past few minutes, it demonstrated the positive impact teaching others can have on one’s own learning. These are all examples of the social connections made that can positively impact academic success.
To fully enrich your learning here at Laurier, we would fully recommend you form study groups and attend facilitated study groups for any of your courses for which they are offered. We have several exam review sessions planned for this term:
|Monday, December 12th||1-3 pm||BF190||Sarah|
|Thursday, December 15th||1-3 pm||BF199||Sarah|
|Thursday, December 15th||5-7 pm||EC120||Jennie|
|Friday, December 16th||2-4 pm||PS101||Sarah|
|Monday, December 19th||5-7 pm||BU127||Jennie|
In the winter semester, study groups will be held for BF 190, BF 199, PS 102, EC140 and MB217.
We hope to see you there!
Your Friendly Neighborhood FSG Leaders
Fleet, J., Goodchild, F., & Zajchowski, R. (2006). Learning for success: Effective strategies for students (4th edition). Toronto, ON: Nelson
Hay, I., Bochner, D., Dungey, C., & Perret, N. (2012). Making the grade: A guide to study and success. Don Mills, ON: OUP Canada.
Petress, K. C. (2004). The benefits of group study. Education, 124(4), 587-589.