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College Success Tip #38 - Study Groups

Do not be deceived “bad company ruins good morals.”

1 Corinthians 15:33

Studying requires motivation, commitment, focus, dedication, discipline and sacrifice. In order to have productive results one must eliminate room for distractions.

When a student makes the decision to study solo it’s all on them, but when a student makes the decision to study with a group the effect is still all on them with added factors that can or cannot be controlled by the student. Any student who is working in a group or electing to study around others understand that wisdom and discernment must be utilized.

Study groups consists of a group of people studying to achieve a goal academically. This goal could possibly be retaining and reviewing information for an upcoming assignment or completing a required assignment assigned by the professor.

The assignment could be a midterm, group project, final exam or quiz. While there is nothing wrong with studying with people it is important for the higher education student to be careful because not everyone is aiming towards the same academic target.

When studying in any study group session consider the following:


Is everyone on the same page as it relates to the content that is to be studied or reviewed?

This is important because if everyone is not on the same page then that’s where problems begin within the group. Whether you are studying with friends, family or classmates always get a clear understanding of the subject matter and educational aims for yourself because issues arise when individuals rely on others that could be absolutely wrong. For example, the professor assigns each student Chapter 12 to review for the group homework assignment. You are under the impression that everyone in your group understands that Chapter 12 is indeed the chapter to review but a couple of people in the group emphatically declare that Chapter 9 is the chapter where the homework assignment is from, because they heard what other people said in class. That’s an issue. It is important that everyone has a clear understanding of the assignment, syllabus and their role as the student completing the assignment as well as studying.


Does everyone respect one another?

People do experience personality clashes with others which can cause them to like or dislike another person’s actions or ways but respect is of extreme importance in any setting. When studying with groups it is important to respect your peers despite how you feel about them.


Although you have the option to study with a group always aim to study alone first before meeting with the group.

My graduate school professor Dr. Davis said to “STUDY ALONE FIRST” in one of my Doctoral courses. When he stated that statement he also presented it as a warning and I took heed. So many students were pairing up and grouping up to study for a MAJOR COMPREHENSIVE EXAM within the Doctoral program. This exam was a determining factor if one would move forward in the program or regress, which meant not advancing and counting their losses. So, when I heard “STUDY ALONE FIRST” It wasn’t an issue for me because I always studied alone but I made sure not to get in the hype of pairing up and linking up with others when I had to get an understanding on the course material on my own.! Dr. Davis went on to explain that when you study alone you are able to determine what’s right and wrong but when you jump ahead and study with a group then their thoughts and actions influence you and areas where you were strong you can potentially become weak because one can listen to their peers talk them out of correct answers because they don’t know what they are doing. Now everyone in the study session is wrong. At least when you study alone you can converse with your instructor, go to study informational sessions to get questions answered so when it is time to work with others if they present you with the wrong information you can easily identify it. And I must share that I did witness this happen to individuals and the consequences were extreme and severe! So…. always study alone first before ever meeting with a group of people.

Peace & God Bless.

Aiming Towards the Target,

Dr. Bryant

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