Three tips for an effective study group

My name is Stanley and I’m a third-year GMS co-op student at the Ted Rogers School of Management and a Program Advising and Student Success (PASS) tutor. As a former PASS student, I’ve always felt supported each time I visited the PASS office in my first and second year. The peer tutors were patient and willing to help with specific questions, clearly explained concepts, and provided visuals to aid my learning.

I wanted to give back to the Ted Rogers School community and that’s what motivated me to work as a PASS academic peer helper. I’ve helped students with questions and concerns they had in particular areas of study. Tutoring sessions are an effective way to further strengthen understanding of materials learned in class. 

Experiential learning, which is based on hands-on experience rather than lengthy lectures is an alternative to lectures. In small tutoring sessions, students can discuss their course materials, which is similar to a study group.

Aristotle once said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. Men become builders by building” (Ho, 2023). 

Below are a few tips for students that apply not only to tutoring but also to teaching colleagues and friends in the context of group work.

  1. Show up prepared for your study sessions

Group study sessions are effective study methods. In tutoring and group situations, it is essential to be accountable to the group and show up prepared and motivated to contribute. It is also important to stay organized, focused, and to pick a format to maintain an effective study session. 

In my experience as an academic peer helper, I always prepared my managerial and financial accounting materials before each session, so when my tutees asked me questions, rather than feeling frustrated or unprepared, I could confidently answer their questions and explain concepts to them clearly and precisely. 

  1. Never give up

If I encounter a student who has multiple challenges and is not satisfied with one of my sessions, I don’t get upset. Instead, I use this experience to motivate myself to improve my performance or change my tutoring style to adapt to the diverse tutoring situations that I encounter. We should understand that students learn in different ways and adapt our approaches. If we can help students by answering questions or explaining challenging concepts, this can create a great atmosphere by tackling the challenges together.

  1. Pick a format for your group study session

A format for study groups is particularly important because it allows students to make the best use of their study time. As an academic peer helper, I like to use several different formats or approaches. For example, I ask students questions to guide them through the concept using photo memorization or visualizing a specific question in Accounting. Another way is to go through a concept and ask students to work on a question based on the concept to see if they understand how to do the problem. 

Ted Rogers School students should pick a group study format that works for them. The most important part is to make use of students’ time available and make everyone feel comfortable whichever way they study so that they can maximize the benefits of their group study sessions.

In conclusion, if you feel that you’ve lost your focus in your studies or you’re not doing well, don’t worry. Group study or tutoring sessions may be the key. If you can apply the right strategy in a group tutoring, you can succeed in the future. Instead of focusing on how your individual effort can benefit your studies, you could also equip yourself with tools that could help other students, too. Form a like-minded group to leverage all of your skills and the skills they’ve learned and embark together on a successful study journey.