Studying in groups can be both practical and useless. I’ve always pictured it as several people sitting together trying to focus, but end up gossiping and fooling around. A few days ago I had an opportunity to actually study productively with a friend. Although it wasn’t a long study session, I took away a few things that made it successful.
1. Bring all materials for the class
Textbooks, worksheets, notes, flashcards, computers, whatever you normally use to study. Some of these things are easy to forget about, so make a list of supplies beforehand.
2. Have a study plan
What are you going to do? Go over the study guide and check your understanding of concepts, do practice problems, quiz each other, etc.
3. Prepare a list of questions to ask each other
This is a good chance to clarify some concepts you don’t understand without feeling silly in front of the whole class. It is also great additional review for your partner who gets to explain it to you.
4. Keep outside conversation to a minimum
It’s alright to get a little distracted for a short break, discuss a professor or a recent event. But overall, the relation of talk time to study time should be about 1:1000.