Study groups

How study groups work

One-hour study group sessions are held once a week throughout the semester. Some facilitators also hold extra sessions before exams. The primary function of study groups is to connect course content with study strategies. In study groups students connect how-to-study with what-to-study.



  • Integrate review of course content with study skills and learning strategies.
  • Increase student skills in comprehension, analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
  • Demonstrate the positive effects of combining academics and socialization.
  • Increase retention and success of students in specific courses.
Students are expected to:
  • attend most scheduled sessions
  • contribute ideas to support or dispute
  • prepare for each session
  • prepare possible test questions to stimulate discussion
  • share notes and chapter outlines with other members in the group
Group facilitators are expected to:
  • meet with the professor regularly throughout the semester to gain insight into possible strategies for the study group
  • meet with the group at all scheduled sessions
  • help the group stay on target as opposed to running the group
  • challenge concrete thinking to increase the group’s ability to compare, contrast and analyze
  • conduct open-ended discussions and debates designed to promote understanding and insight

Why study groups work

Students who participate actively in study groups learn better for two reasons:

  1. Students learn how to study. The facilitator will introduce study strategies or reinforce familiar ones.
  2. Students apply study strategies to the course content itself. The facilitator focuses on skills that are highly relevant to the course. Participants apply new skills during the session.

Although study groups have many strengths, three stand out:

  1. students are involved in their own learning as well as the learning of their peers.
  2. it is a great way to find and select a study partner and socialize with peers.
  3. study groups are available throughout the semester.


Facilitators are selected and trained by the program director, however, instructor input is welcome in the selection process. The peer facilitators guide study sessions but expect students to be actively involved in the learning process. The facilitator’s chief purpose is to promote independent learning.

Job qualifications for these student leaders are the following:

  1. Must have taken the course and have received a “B” or better prior to leading the group OR must be registered in the class and have an overall GPA of no less than 3.0 or greater.
  2. Demonstrate competence in several subjects and practice overall good study habits.
  3. Must be sensitive to many learning styles.
  4. Must be very dependable and stable person who can work creatively and independently.
  5. Must be recommended by a key faculty member or the department chairman.
  6. Must possess good interpersonal communication skills and ease in relating to people from varying educational, cultural, and social backgrounds.

Research suggests higher academic success among those who study in small groups. Our statistics from previous semesters clearly support this research. For every course study groups were offered in, the percentage of students passing with a “C” or better was substantially higher among those who actively participated in a group than among those who were not involved in a study group.

  • Check your class syllabus for study group times.
  • Listen for class announcements regarding times and places and/or changes.
  • Contact the Kissinger Academic Center for Excellence (and let us know if scheduled times do not fit your current schedule and we will do our best to accommodate you).
  • New groups may be formed as interest is demonstrated.