Making a Student Study Group
You need 3-4 friends to form a study group for each course you are enrolled in. When you team up with 2-3 other friends and work on assignments you have the collective thinking power of 3-4 bright students working together. This group synergy brings a lot more thinking power to the learning process than any one student would have working on assignments alone.
Always select student friends who are hard-working and diligent, or join a well established group. If you have several friends who want to join your group select those who are the most reliable and who live near each other. This will reduce travel time and costs for study group meetings. It is important that the members in your study group are reliable, reasonably bright, and diligent. You won't get much academic synergy from a 'D-Grade Dummies Group'!
The ideal friends study group size for a study group is 4 members. Fewer than 3 members will not spread the work enough and a larger study group will fragment into smaller sub-groups during group discussion. Groups should never carry free-riders who take energy and information but give nothing back. Exclude non-contributing members as soon as you realize there is a problem.
Assignment First Group Meeting
The first meeting is relatively short. When you know what the assignment is the study group should meet at a members' home, or in a quiet place, to discuss the assignment details and make sure you all understand what you are asked to do. You then assign the reading research from the reading lists so each study group member has 3-4 reading tasks to complete before the next meeting date. The last task is to set the date and place for the next meeting.
Walter Pauk Cornell Notes Format
If the study group friends use an adapted Walter Pauk's Cornell Notes format for the research reading notes it will be easier for other study group members to add citations when writing their assignment report. Cornell Notes format can also be used for study recitation and as a basis for new notes.
During the research reading the student friends record the full title of every researched text using, and the page and line reference for important citations that may be used in the assignment essay or report. For the line reference use a decimal digit for how far down the page the citation was found. For example: p33.25 means the text starts about a quarter (25%) down on page 33. If the citation was found near the bottom of the page 45 the reference would be p45.95 (95%)
Assignment Second Group Meeting
At the second meeting each study group friend provides a copy of their reading research notes to the other friends so everyone has the research notes of every other friend in the study group. Do this efficiently by saving the research reading notes on a flash-drive or a low-cost CD and exchanging with your friends that way.
Each study group friend then tells the others what they discovered during their research. Spend time on this group tutorial and ensure that each friend adds something to the group learning. The study group then moves to a brainstorm to decide what is relevant to the assignment and what to leave out.
Brainstorm the Essay Outline
The purpose of the study group brainstorm is to get a detailed outline for your essay writing.
Managing the Essay Writing Outline Brainstorm
Using a brainstorm in a small group has limitations because your study group is small and the members all know what is required so there is a high chance that you will all have a similar idea about what's the best way to order the material, but you can still use the basic brainstorming method to generate some synergy.
Rather than having a shouting match you should use standard brainstorm rules. One person needs to record the ideas, and another person acts as the facilitator whose job it is to draw out ideas from the group ...one at a time, and the other members think widely and contribute!