What Is An International Study Group?
An International study group is a small group of students with different nationalities taking the same class and meeting regularly out of class time. Members of the study group are committed to helping each other be successful by working together. A study group is usually formed and run by the students involved.
The typical study group consists of four to six students who are taking the same class (not necessarily at the same time). They are available at the same time outside of class. They also have similar levels of commitment.
Do not forget that an international study group is not a substitute for attending classes. You should participate in your classes. A study group is not a place to get others to do your homework and it is not a social group.
What should you do to have a successful study group?
1- You should meet members of the study group 1-3 times per week (may meet more often around test times). It is better to have a regular schedule including start and end times.
2- Try to be a study group rather than a social group and choose a leader that may change each meeting.
3- Designate a moderator to keep you on schedule. The role of the moderator can rotate from one meeting to the next.
4- Decide the topics you are going to discuss BEFORE the meeting. All members should commit to preparing that material PRIOR to the meeting. Don’t take on too much material for one session.
5- Each student should thoroughly PREPARE and identify key points and areas of confusion within the material to be covered in the group.
6- Schedule a SPECIFIC time period for your study group (e.g., 1.5 hours) before the meeting; it is the moderator’s responsibility to keep to that time. This will prevent the session from dragging on and you feeling your valuable study time has been wasted.
7- Teach others the material you have understood, and learn from others who have understood materials better than you. When you teach someone else the material, you have to know it in much more depth, and you find that it would solidify your knowledge. You may even surprise yourself with how much you know.
8- Discuss and quiz each other on the material. Treat this like an oral exam. Come into the group well prepared but be ready to identify areas that you do not understand.
9-Try to make studying enjoyable in whatever way you can. Since you will spend a lot of time studying, you need to keep things interesting. Consider crowning a session “guru” every time you meet. This is the person who has been able to ace key material and explain it well to others during the session. You might even exchange gag gifts.
What Does a Study Group Do?
Your study group will decide the best way to work together. Here are some ways that other successful study groups have worked together:
Review notes to share any information members may have missed in class
Take turns finding and sharing more in-depth information on class topics
Have each member be responsible for a section of material and come together to discuss
Discuss sections of the book or lecture notes
Quiz each other on class material
Practice conversation in a language you are learning
Work through homework together
Practice working through math problems
How Do I Start a Study Group?
Choose a starting date and time. The group may decide to change the meeting day/time later, but have an idea before you start looking for a location and finding members.
Find a location to meet. Possible options include:
Study rooms in the university library
The university learning center
An empty classroom
Announce in the classroom that you are forming a study group
Post a sign-up sheet in or near your classroom. Be sure to include the date, time, and location of the first meeting (or ask students to leave contact information)
Ask students in the other sections of the same class
Post information on the college bulletin board
Post an announcement in the university learning center
How to Get the Most out of Participating in Large International Study Groups?
Each student should go in with three goals:
Determine what you already know well.
Often these will be the topics you will help teach others. It’s important to identify objectively what you know well so you can spend your time wisely on topics that you don’t know. Of course, you will review all the material before the exam, so don’t worry that you won’t be prepared.
Personalize and interact with the material.
This is much more difficult to do independently and is best done by interacting with others. What do I mean by “personalizing” the material? You are much more likely to assimilate information (make it part of your memory) when you make it your own. If you simply read the pages in a textbook over and over, you are not so likely to learn unless you take your own notes (personalizing), review your notes (personalizing), quiz yourself on the information (interacting), have others quiz you on the material (interacting), and teach or learn from others (personalizing and interacting).
Emerge from the group with a list of what you DON’T KNOW YET.
This is GOLDEN information. Once you know where your weak areas lie, you can spend more time studying these topics. After the study group meets, you should develop an action plan and schedule enough time to study these topics.
10 Benefits of Participating in Large International Study Groups
When students work together in groups with common goals of learning, they can provide encouragement to each other to keep motivated toward the goals. It can be a positive and enjoyable experience.
As each member of a study group commits to participate fully in the group, students tend to stay up-to-date with class assignments and this helps to be well prepared for quizzes and tests without cramming, as well as turning in projects in a timely manner. Being part of a study group helps to avoid procrastination.
Discussions and Communication
Study groups can help you develop as a student, person, and professional. These groups encourage members to think creatively and build strong communication skills that would also help in refining their understanding of the material. It has been proven that those who participate in study groups feel more confident and comfortable about reaching their academic goals. Overall, most professional careers require collaboration with colleagues on projects, so study groups are excellent practice for preparation for the work world.
“Two Heads are Better Than One.”
Students tend to learn faster working within a group versus working alone. If a student was working on his/her own, there would be a lot of time wasted puzzling over any difficulty. However, when students work in groups, they have the opportunity to explain concepts, review material, exchange ideas, and disagree with/reason why one person’s answer differs from another’s. So, one can seek clarification and learn faster working in a group.
Since everyone has individual talents and unique insights, group members can learn from each other. They can also teach confusing concepts they have understood to other group members.
Working in groups makes it possible to focus on more concepts since multiple people can review more materials than just one.
One or more group members are likely to understand something you do not. They may bring up ideas you have never considered.
Learn New Study Habits/Skills
There are always ways to enhance your studying methods/techniques in your study skills. Joining a study group will provide you the opportunity to observe a wide variety of study methods and incorporate them into your regimen. Note-taking and organization skills are two major study components that continue to be improved through study groups.
Compare Class Notes
You can compare your class notes with those of the other group members to clarify important concepts and fill in any gaps.
Teaching Concepts to the Other Group Members
Teaching/explaining information and concepts to the other group members will help you reinforce your mastery of the information and concepts.
Interaction – Enjoyable Learning
Studying with a group is a great way to liven up your study sessions. It can be very monotonous and draining to spend long hours alone somewhere. Joining a study group and studying in a group environment makes learning much more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Each group member has different qualities/ideas to offer to the study group. Studying by yourself will always get you one perspective; yet, in groups, you may receive various viewpoints which can assist in helping you reach your own conclusions. Listening and asking questions will provide more food for thought while developing your critical skills.
You may be reluctant to ask a question in class. You will find it easier to do so in a small study group and eventually in the classroom.
Listening and discussing can add a strong auditory dimension to your learning experience.
Being in a study group with motivated classmates is often helpful to reduce test anxiety.