Finding and Using Study Groups

What are Study Groups?

Study groups are small groups (usually of 2-5 students) who have a course in common and an interest in working together to learn the course material and prepare for exams.

What are the Benefits of Participating in a Study Group?

  • Having a group of people to study with may motivate you to learn.
  • A study group is a safe, low-risk place to try new skills and practice together.
  • Talking about cases, issues and practice exams provide you and opportunity to consider all sides of an issue and help you understand and retain the material.
  • An effective group will help you explore more deeply the information, so that you are more likely to catch nuances and subtleties.
  • Regularly meeting with classmates helps keep you on schedule and on task.

When are Study Groups Effective?

Study groups tend to me most effective when:

  • members share common goals.
  • the group meets regularly.
  • the group focuses on the material they have agreed to cover and discuss.
  • the group members have the same course.
  • each member of the group does all the work for himself or herself.
  • the group is comfortable taking risks and trying out new approaches and arguments.
  • the group is respectful of each other’s time and ideas.

What Happens During Study Group Meetings?

What happens during study group meetings depends largely on the members of the study group, who work together for the success of each member of the group. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that may occur during study group meetings:

  • Review material covered during class, including questions the professor raised, trigger facts and hypothetical examples.
  • Discuss review questions provided by any course Learning Assistants.
  • Discuss material to be covered in upcoming classes.
  • Ask questions regarding class or reading material to improve clarity.
  • Create and respond to hypotheticals.
  • Quiz each other on legal rules and/or case information.
  • Take practice exams and compare responses.
  • Exchange outline ideas (but complete individual outlines).
  • Identify areas of continued confusion to raise with the professor.
  • Provide constructive criticism and positive feedback to motivate each other.

What Should We Avoid Doing During Study Group Sessions?

To maintain the effectiveness of study groups, members should avoid:

  • Gossiping and socializing instead of studying.
  • Dividing up coursework instead of having each member complete all the reading, briefing, outlining, etc.
  • Relying on the study group for all your studying.
  • Inviting new members to join the group without discussing it with other members.
  • Staying in a study group when it is not working out for you individually.
  • Feel personally affronted if someone decides to leave the study group.

How Can I Find Others to Form a Study Group?

  • Look for classmates in your classes and sections who seem prepared during class.
  • Find others who can meet on the same schedule as you.
  • Do not be shy about asking others to join you to study (or asking to join an existing study group).
  • Contact Academic Success to submit your name on our Study Group interest list so we can help you find others with whom to study.