52 Weeks to College: Week 12

Enhance the learning experience and tackle test prep! Learn how to build a productive study group with these tips…
March 22, 2021


How to Create Your Own Study Groups



How are you faring at keeping up with your schoolwork and squeezing in regular test prep for any tests you might be preparing for?


What we hear is that most of you are settling into a rhythm, but the quality of the experience varies a lot. Maybe you don’t have a great internet connection or maybe your favorite subject doesn’t translate well into remote learning or maybe you miss having the opportunity to just drop in on a teacher during a break and ask your question. Some of you are also thinking ahead to the upcoming AP tests.


We get it. These obstacles are real and not really anything you’ve prepared for. That being said, you are not powerless! You have skills and resources that you can use to overcome these obstacles, and learning how to use these resources will have a huge payoff for you when you get to college.


One thing that you could do that will help you with your schoolwork and test prep is to form a study group. Study groups are a highly effective way to enhance your learning. Here are just a few of the benefits of having a study group…

WEEK 12 TIPS & TRICKS


  • You’ll have the benefit of different perspectives and insights. The other members of your group might uncover themes or theories or problem-solving techniques that you don’t. They may have experience or knowledge that is eye-opening to you.


  • You’ll improve your notes. Comparing your notes to other people’s in your study group can help you see where you might have missed something important or where you misunderstood your teacher.


  • You’ll get your homework done better and more quickly. Working through a tough problem set together is much more efficient than tackling it on your own or getting stuck when you come to the part you don’t understand.  


  • You’ll motivate, support, and inspire each other. Everyone can use an encouraging or compassionate word when it’s tough. And when you’re feeling on top of your game, nothing is more satisfying than helping someone else.


Here are a few guidelines for getting a study group started:



The perfect size for your study group is 3-5 people. You can choose your friends, but you might consider mixing it up a little and choosing people who you know will take the study group seriously and have different skills or perspectives than you. Ultimately it is important that everyone contribute and that the group stay focused on studying, not just hanging out.


Use your first meeting to agree to set goals and protocols for the group. For example, you might have a goal to study Physics together or to prepare for the upcoming AP US History test. Your protocols might be that you will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and that you will rotate who leads the group for each meeting. Or your protocols might be that you will meet the night before a problem set is due and that you’ll meet for a couple of hours and walk through every problem together.


Since you can’t meet in person right now, you’ll need to decide what online platform you are going to use. It will help if it is a video-conferencing platform, with screen sharing and chat capabilities. But if you can’t video-conference, phone calls will work too. If you can’t screen share, use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides so you can collaborate in real time together. If you can’t talk, message each other.


That’s all there is to it. Your study group will absolutely help you overcome some of the obstacles that learning during a pandemic presents. But even better, it is a strategy for academic success you can use in college too.



Anna Ivey is one of the founders of Inline. An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the college admissions bible How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.

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