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Effective Study Groups

Hello AACC Nursing Students,

As you consider areas to improve your success, look no further than your classmates. Start a Study Group! If you already are part of a study group, maximize the value of your study group! My hope is to encourage you to consider a study group or even a study partner to help you through the rough patches in your course and to make your study group work for you.

Interdependence: What do you think of when you hear that word? Helen Keller wrote, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Have you learned to be interdependent with your nursing classmates? When you work together in a group, everyone benefits through active involvement in the course content, discussion regarding challenging issues, and the ability to be a team member. If you do not have a study group, consider asking a classmate that you find to be an active learner, motivated, and enthusiastic to join you in a weekly study group.

How to set up an effective study group:

1. Choose members carefully: Be sure to ask students that are motivated to learn, have similar schedules to you, and who you believe that you could work with in an on-going relationship. Usually limit the study group to four members. If you only have two members that is fine if it works better for you. Remember the importance of each group member and accountability to the group; you must commit to meeting, being on time, and contributing effectively.

2. Determine your group goals: Discuss what you want to achieve through the study group and write your goals down.

3. Choose group rules: Determine when, where, how often, and what time you will meet. Be sure to set up what guidelines you will follow when you meet and stick to them.

Ideas for nursing study groups:

1. Consider a Q&A review of content at the outset of the study group. This means that each member should be prepared through studying and reviewing content prior to the meeting.

2. Bring Case study questions, based on your content, to discuss within the group. Make sure that each member is actively contributing as this helps the entire group to consider other’s ideas and thoughts.

3. Find Critical Thinking exercises, found in the end of most textbook chapters, that you can discuss as a group. Think outside the box.

4. Consider developing group concept maps on various content topics. Include Nursing diagnosis, interventions, and prioritize care based on client status.

5. After review and development of content, complete NCLEX-style questions to discuss as a group. Be sure to discuss the rationale for the answers and test taking tips. Each group member can also develop 5-10 questions based on content themselves and have the group complete them.

6. Plan something fun after a big exam or during non-study group time that you can do together. Enjoy your new friends!

7. Be a good listener.

8. If someone goes off track and you think that they are wrong, say something and check for facts. Do not let the group go astray with misinformation!

9. Play act patient/nurse scenarios with your study partner.

These are tips for developing an effective study group. I hope that you either have a study group already or will soon form one. You will see good results if you implement these tips.