Learning Center Study Guides

Perform Better In the Classroom

How to Get the Best Out of Group Study Sessions

Whether by choice or by a professor's mandate, students are often put in groups to complete projects and study for exams. While it's important to remember that you alone are responsible for your academic success, study groups can often help reinforce course material and clarify key concepts.

Here are a few tips to help you keep focused and contribute to the group study process.

Take Responsibility

  • Students participating in a work group should be responsible to each other, not for each other.
  • Come prepared. Make sure you have done the homework and are prepared with questions and insights.
  • All members of the group need to contribute in order for the group to be productive.
  • Don't keep the group waiting. If you can't make it or know you will be late, call another member of the group so she can contact the other group members for you.
  • Share your insights, background knowledge, and questions. Members should be cooperative rather than competitive. Don't judge each other there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Stay Focused

  • Assign roles.
  • Do not allow the meeting to turn into a gripe session: allowing members to complain that the course is too hard or is stupid is not productive. You are better off keeping a positive attitude and reviewing the material that is the most difficult for you.
  • Stay on track. If the discussion does stray, bring it back on track by simply saying something to the effect of, "Okay, let's get back to the review sheet."

Help Each Other

  • Do this by helping each other to see and understand key ideas, important concepts, and connections.

Anticipate Possible Test Questions

  • What kinds of questions has the instructor asked on previous tests?
  • Is there anything the instructor has talked at length about in the classroom or repeated several times during the course of the semester?
  • How do key aspects of the material compare and contrast? Can you outline various perspectives of of the material?
  • Look back over the semester: What emerges as obviously important material? Why? What facts and data can you use to help you support any claims made pertaining to the material?

For More Information on Group Study Skills

The following sites can offer you and your group tips on group study. For more study strategies, visit our other Academic Resources Pages: Study Strategies, Content Specific, Writing Support.

Contact Information


Claude J. Clark Learning Center at SUNY Plattsburgh

Feinberg Library, Room 103 (First Floor)
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, New York 12901
Phone: (518) 564-6138
Fax: (518) 564-6140
Email: learningctr@plattsburgh.edu