Studying is never something you want to do; however, it is necessary to be successful in nursing school. Group study sessions work because, theoretically, two heads are better than one. Studying in groups allows you to talk openly and view all aspects of a scenario. In nursing school, this is extremely vital to understanding care of the patient as a whole. Study groups make the studying more about learning as compared to cramming because your group members will often contribute in different ways when it comes to remembering formulas and nursing topics.
Forming a study group is one of the best techniques for gaining as much as you can from a study session. However, study groups can be productive and unproductive at times. Here are five tips for managing your group time.
- Limit the size of your study group to three to five students. The smaller your study group, the greater your ability to be efficient, thorough and productive. Select members who have different strengths so each member can receive a leadership role. For example, if one student excels in pathophysiology of disease processes and another is exemplary in prioritizing nursing care, they can work together to maximize learning potential.
- Choose your location carefully. Semi-private locations are ideal, since discussions can get loud with ideas being shared.
- Set specific goals. Each person should walk into a study session with a list of questions or goals to accomplish for that session. This will help your group stay on target and avoid wavering off-topic.
- Divide and conquer course material. Assign a portion of each chapter or assignment to a member of your group. From there, make up study questions for your portion and distribute copies to the others. Look at that – you just created your own practice exam.
- Don’t substitute one form of learning for another. Group study is not a substitute for individual learning and understanding. The key to learning is not the actual answer but the process of critical thinking.
If you haven’t formed a study group yet, I highly suggest you do!