Study groups can be extremely effective at tackling homework assignments and preparing for exams. It is actually expected for students to work together to solve problems due to their difficulty, so it is not considered cheating.
- Form a study group with friends you have in class, as long as they are people who can get work done. If your friends are more interested in goofing off or having fun during study sessions, you might want to find more serious students with whom to study. Office Hours are a good opportunity to meet students who work harder in class, as well as other students that are looking for an edge. An ideal study group will have people with different strengths, so that everyone can help each other.
- Figuring out a good meeting spot and time is extremely important for a successful study group. For some classes and subjects, there are central study areas where students tend to gather. Finding these locations is important, and as this wiki develops, they will be added either under their particular department or class. A good place to look though is in the library or common room closest to your lecture or discussion section. The closest room to the homework turn in box is also a good place to check. For general purpose studying, there is also the student center which is open to anybody.
- Even if you know the best gathering spot for a particular study group, the time is also extremely important. Typically there will always be students around right before a deadline, but that isn't necessarily the best time to show up yourself. People who are there working right up to the deadline are procrastinators and can get into trouble completing assignments in time. If you save studying to the last minute, you miss out on opportunities like asking questions in office hours. The more successful students will often meet anywhere from a few days to several hours before a deadline so they have time to deal with any problems that might arise.
- If you are in a position where you know more about a subject than your classmates, teaching is actually a very important ability that lets you help others and yourself. Teaching others is a good test to see how well you understand the material. It can also improve your own understanding by forcing you to rethink and reexamine the subject.
- Leeching off a study group is not the recommended course if you are trying to do well in a class, it is a strategy to just get by. A leech is someone who does not contribute to the success of the study group, but instead only reaps the rewards of others' work. While this may be a quick way to finish an assignment or make a cheat sheet, you are effectively missing out on the actual act of studying.
- Your study group will most likely become your closest group of friends for that particular class, so make sure you introduce yourself properly and get to know them. If they are people as the same academic track as you, you'll likely be seeing a lot of them so it pays to develop a good relationship.