Every student has his/her study preference. While some thrive well through personal study, others prefer group study. I wouldn't want to go into the pros and cons of both methods (will do that at a later time). If you find study groups attractive, read on as this article is for you.
Study group functions when the right members make up the group. This is by far the most important point to note. Ideally, study groups are made up of students with sincere purpose, self-discipline and commitment. Anything short of this will run contrary to its purpose.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to forming a study group. However, the guidelines below are a common sight in articles on group study. They will help make your study, and study group effective.

1. Form your group. Like I stated earlier, the success or otherwise of your study group depends on the members that make up the group. Self-disciplined members are a beauty to behold in any group.
 To form a study group, you start by speaking to a few people you'd like to study with. Politely ask friends and colleagues. If peradventure they belong to other study groups, do not pressure them to pull out. A student can belong to as many study groups he/she desires provided there are no clashes in schedules and he/she can cope.
Members Intelligence should not be your main criteria for deciding who joins (see introduction for important criteria). Forming study groups with intimate friends is dicey, as discussion sessions could drift to gossiping and playing around. This will defeat the purpose of the group. This is where self-discipline comes to play. Every study group needs it.

2. Size matters: when creating your study group, the members should be limited to 10 students. 3-6 members will be just fine. This ensures the group isn't crowded and uncontrollable; so everyone gets an opportunity to contribute.

3. Study location and time: a study location and time that is comfortable to all members should be chosen. The study place should be one devoid of distractions. Members should also be enjoined to embrace punctuality. Punctuality is the soul of study groups.

4. Take off: the group members meet together, prepare an agenda, get ideas from every member and plan how to proceed with the group activities.

5. Study contents: group study functions best when each member is given a role to play. Therefore it is important that sections of course work are assigned to every member of the group to teach the group after they must have done proper home work.

6. Discussion: group members need to ask questions, quiz each other and debate the topic of discussion. By doing this, members get different perspectives and deep understanding of course materials. It is important to ensure that members do not drift too far from the topic of discussion. Therefore, having a moderator or someone to keep the group in line is necessary.
Goal setting: for every discussion session, it is advisable that goals are set. This helps to keep members on track. Goal setting answers the question of what is to be learnt. Group members are to test if the stated objectives have been achieved at the end of every study session.

7. Group conduct: every study group needs to be guided by certain rules fashioned be the members. Group members should ensure socialising is lowered during studies. There should be penalties for erring members, ranging from suspension to outright expulsion.
Armed with this information, forming a study group shouldn't be a hard task. It'll help you cover extensive course contents, prepare for that examination, broaden your perspectives and provide emotional support should the need arise.

The comments section is open for further discussions.


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