What to Do When Your Study Group Isn't Helping You Succeed on Exams

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Everybody likes to talk about how great study groups are, and how much help they can be when preparing for an exam, but sometimes they're just... not helpful. This blog post can help you decide what to do if you find yourself in that type of situation.

When Group Work Isn't Working

Study groups are an effective tool for preparing for an exam or passing a class. After all, multiple minds are better than one, right? But what do you do if your study group isn't actually working for you anymore? Here are our best tips for how to handle an ineffective study group.

An ineffective study group

Do Your Part

One thing that you might want to consider before you make any drastic decisions about your study group is your own role in the group. Because here's the thing: just being in a study group doesn't actually count as studying and won't effectively prepare you for a test in and of itself. You also have to pull your weight, contributing your part to the group by actually studying. Don't just rely on the fact that you're in a study group to help you succeed; the group is a tool, not a miracle.

Have a Group Meeting

If you determine that the group, and not you, is the problem, consider having a group meeting. Sure, you might meet with your study group regularly, but do you ever have a real group meeting? By that we mean making time to talk about the group, its goals, its roles, its dynamics, and whether or not it's doing its job. Ideally, you would have had this type of meeting at the formation of your study group, but it can never hurt to have them regularly; they're especially useful when troubleshooting an ineffective study group.

Meet with your group and see if the other members feel the same way you do, gently and constructively sharing what you feel isn't working and any theories you have about issues and problems. The ideal outcome is that others will validate your concerns, and you'll be able to work together to brainstorm solutions in order to make the group a success.

A study group has a group meeting

Leave the Study Group

So what if that study group meeting results in a less than ideal outcome? What if your efforts to fix your study group are ineffective? Don't be afraid to jump ship. Your study group should be helping, not hindering, you; it's not your responsibility to stick around if you feel that it's no longer fixable.

If you do leave your group, you have two options. One is to find or create a new study group composed of other classmates with whom you have a better working relationship. While it might be frustrating to start from square one, this strategy can pay off in the long run.

If that approach doesn't sound appealing, and if you're not sure you want to bother with the whole study group ordeal anymore, you can always study alone. People have been doing it for centuries. Try studying alone for your next test and see how you feel afterwards. You know you can always rely on yourself.

Whichever approach you decide to take, good luck on your exams!

A student studies alone after leaving his study group

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By Daisy Rogozinsky
May 2019
test prep test readiness

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