Three tips to make your study group better

In my last article, I shared some common study group pitfalls that nursing students frequently make.  In this article, I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do to avoid those pitfalls and get the most out of YOUR study group experience!

Choosing the RIGHT study group

Don’t automatically assume that you and your friends should get together to study.  Instead, start by writing down a list of ideal characteristics you’d like to have in a study group member.  For example, would you like to study with someone who is doing well in class?  Someone who is good at explaining things?  Someone who seems to have a knack for correctly guessing what topics will be covered on each exam?  Once you have your list of ideal qualities in hand, start thinking about which of your classmates have those qualities.  You probably won’t be able to find any one person with all the qualities you want, but if you can spread those characteristics across 3-4 potential study buddies then you’re in business.

Maximize your contribution…even if you’re struggling

Even if you’re finding nursing school to be tougher than you imagined, you can still contribute to a study group.  Avoid the self-deprecating talk and focus on what you can offer.  Maybe you always come prepared, or you’re great at finding and sharing online resources (like Your Nursing Tutor!).  If nothing else, you could be the one that organizes the study group or brings a snack.  Whatever it is you can contribute, keep the focus on that and stay away from negativity.

No-complaining, No-gossipping zone

You’re mother told you the truth…if you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s better not to say anything at all.  Sometimes it’s tough to stay quiet when everyone else is complaining, but if you join in then you’ll just cause the study group to waste even more time.  Just keep your mouth shut.  Better yet, practice your therapeutic communication skills by gently redirecting the group’s focus.  Try saying something like, “Hey guys, I know that stuff’s annoying, but we’ve really got to start reviewing this information if we’re going to have time to cover it all.”  Chances are, everyone else will agree with you and get back to work.
Do you have any study group tips that have worked for you?  Just leave a comment below to tell me what works for you.

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