Tips for getting the most out of study groups

Advantages and disadvantages of study groups

The first thing to keep in mind is that study groups can help you a lot, but they're not perfect. In addition, not all of us are made to study in groups or to concentrate with the people around us, and on the other hand, human groups are often complicated to deal with. That's why we recommend that you think carefully about the pros and cons of starting your own group:


  • The learning process is enrichedGroup study and sharing of the techniques of each team member will make the study experience and overall vision more complete and rewarding.
  • Doubts are resolvedThe exchange of ideas and points of view helps resolve doubts that you might not have detected at the outset. In addition, you will have your colleagues to explain to you the cases that you find the most difficult to understand and resolve. In short, you can compensate for your weaknesses with the strengths of others and vice versa, and share valuable information for add quality to your studio.
  • This makes studying more enjoyable: Studying is a task that often becomes tiring and boring. However, because study groups are very dynamic, you can learn and improve your skills almost without realizing it.


  • They can increase the entertainmentDistraction: Being in company can greatly increase distractions, especially if our team is made up of friends or if we have trouble concentrating normally. If left unchecked, each group session can turn out to be a waste of time.
  • It could be frustratingGroups of people are usually complex to manage, as there are many factors to consider. In this case, it is likely, for example, that some are more advanced than others, that a system of studies does not work for everyone, or even that there is friction between different personalities or a lack of commitment. All of this can frustrate you in the long run.

Tips for effectively structuring a study group

As with any activity where the opinion of several people matters, it is best to establish guidelines to facilitate coordination and planning for all involved. To achieve this, it is best to follow these guidelines:

  • Assistance: Ideally, group study sessions should be face-to-face, fixed, and on common ground, such as university working rooms, and held after school hours, so that all participants are already on the campus.
  • Session priorities: group members should be clear about the purpose of the group, and also that the idea is that each of you collaborate on how to find out how to do better in your studies. It is good to lay down some general rules, so that you all commit to respecting them for the common good.
  • Variety of components: don't create the group only with your friends, think strategically and create a diverse group with students with different skills and who bring something different.
  • A reduced number of peopleThe members of the group should be varied, but ideally there are no more than five or six people in the group, and all of them make you comfortable in their work and commitment to their lives. studies. This way, you will be less likely to get frustrated.
  • Solidarity and collaboration: study group members should be clear that the sessions are accessible to everyone and that everyone should be responsible for their task; it is not for others to facilitate your tasks or to obtain the solutions of the class exercises.

The most complicated part of studying in a group is maintain this organization throughout the course and make no excuses to cancel sessions, as well as prevent any member from deciding to resign. Remember: the goal is to make you helps and facilitates work of the quarter. When it is a nuisance or creates collaboration problems, it is better to dissolve it and look for another form of study that works well.

How do you know if the study group will work?

As you can imagine, it is important to know if our study group will work in the medium and long term, especially so as not to waste time on a project that is going to fail. So be careful during the first sessions! If you find that your group meets the following characteristics, you are on the right track:

  • People are nice : this attribute is largely underestimated. After all, being surrounded by respectful and positive people is essential for having a positive experience in all walks of life. No one likes to meet nasty people, even if they are smart. Therefore, kindness, respect and positive thinking are essential for having a good study group.
  • The partners attend regularly and are punctual: This point is linked to the previous one, as it shows respect and commitment to the team. It is inevitable that some colleagues will be absent at times, but in general, group members need to be present and constantly on time if they are to get any real benefit from meetings. The idea of ​​the group is that everyone understands the course material, whether it is for a semester or a particular exam, which is difficult when meetings are infrequent.
  • They all have the same responsibilities and are ready to cooperate: This may not be reflected in the first session, as everyone's strengths are undoubtedly different. In the medium term, however, all members should lend a hand, be ready to help and use their strengths when they can.
  • All members benefit from the same group benefits: if some find the study sessions extremely useful while others do not see their value as clearly, the group may not be the best for everyone. People should contribute and benefit alike. You don't want your study group to become a tutor from one student to another.
  • You feel pretty good after study meetings: if you have an effective and positive group, it will be noticed after the meetings. You will have a better understanding of the materials, you will have saved time collaborating with like-minded people, and you might even have enjoyed the process. On the other hand, if you leave meetings feeling frustrated or wasting your time, you may need to find another group.
  • The group helps you save time: le time management may be one of the biggest challenges in the college scene. If you invest one or more hours per day in a study group, make sure it is a good investment and that you save time. If preparing for the study session, participating, and processing what you learn later helps you save time, then you have a great study group and you should keep it.

6 essential applications for working in groups

Although it is necessary to attend group study sessions, you can also decide to carry out a common project, either in one of the subjects or on your own, for example: writing notes together, sharing information that you consider useful for the class, prepare participatory summaries ... Fortunately, work together It has never been easier than in today's digital age, as there are several apps that you and your team can collaborate with more easily and without having to extend meeting days. Some of the most popular are:

As universal as this tool is, it sometimes goes unnoticed. But the truth is, Google Drive has everything a group of students could need to do common work: you can share and edit documents as a group, create folders to organize information, leave notes, monitor documents. changes and access all files from any device.

This app allows you to completely organize a job, creating a to-do list and assigning them to each member of the group. In addition, the app combines an extremely visual board where you can see each step of the project with a calendar that marks the tasks to be completed and the days when you have to do them.

Do you need a quick exchange of views? Organize it with this app that lets you connect with different users to share ideas in minutes.

Huddle's goal is to enable the creation of shared documents securely. The advantage of this app is that it eliminates the need to send additional emails or texts to other participants as it allows you to validate or indicate that what you have done is correct within the same app.

Communicating between different team members has never been easier than with Slack. This tool allows you to integrate different services and view all notifications in one place, both when creating a document and when viewing it.

Yammer is a kind of Microsoft social network with which all members can share documents of interest, initiate discussions on topics they want, and also share documents. Its social network-like format makes it particularly attractive to young people of the new generation and large teams.

The effectiveness of well-organized and structured study groups has led some important institutions to implement them, the case of the Climate Change Study Group at the National University of Colombia being particularly notable for its enormous success.

In 2011, UNC Sede Manizales created the Climate Change Study Group - GECLIM - with the aim of determining the impact on climate change of different processes and studying mitigation alternatives. Using scientific and engineering tools and through an interdisciplinary group, the members of GECLIM put their knowledge at the service of solving a global problem and invited the academic community in general to participate.

This study group has been maintained as a meeting point between various scientific and non-scientific fields and professionals who collaborate to address climate change and its consequences in a coordinated and effective manner.

You see: studying in a team can be a great experience and a significant benefit to your studies. So do not wait any longer! Find your classmates and start your own study group.

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