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Developing Effective Study Groups. Working Collaboratively. Studying for Memory & Application. Many quick repetitions strengthen recall Tying current material back to material or analysis from past classes may reveal important patterns – (Another type of repetition) Give context

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Developing effective study groups

Developing Effective Study Groups

Working Collaboratively

Studying for memory application
Studying for Memory & Application

  • Many quick repetitions strengthen recall

  • Tying current material back to material or analysis from past classes may reveal important patterns – (Another type of repetition)

  • Give context

    • What is like this that I know?

    • Try to find current examples of the principles being studied.

  • Discuss purpose of principles

    • Are there public policy issues to explore

Learning cycle supported by study groups
Learning Cycle Supported by Study Groups

  • Learning involves:

    • Input: gathering information

    • Processing: contexting, organizing, and storing information for future use

    • Output: applying information to new contexts and situations

  • Unfortunately, what goes in may not come out clearly or accurately. Study groups increase effective learning by:

    • Identifying and clarifying gaps or misunderstanding

    • Helping students learn to apply information to new contexts, reinforcing learning

The purposes of a study group are
The Purposes of a Study Group Are:

  • To clarify information

  • To apply legal knowledge and reasoning to factual situations

  • To test understanding through discussion and debate within the group.

  • To practice writing exam questions.

  • Study on your own before and after session

    • Review what you learned in study group as part of good study practices

How to form a study group
How to Form a Study Group

  • Seek 2 or 3 others

    • Check assumptions with potential members about what a study group does.

    • Clarify the time commitment each wants to make?

  • Choose members on the basis of common goals and commitment to those goals.

  • Do NOT form study groups primarily on the basis of friendship, similarity of thinking, or political conviction.

  • Diversity is a plus in study groups.

Guidelines for forming study groups
Guidelines for Forming Study Groups:

  • Optimal size: 3-4 persons

  • Rotate leadership

  • Role of leader is to involve all participants in discussion

  • Set purpose and goals for the group.

    • At the end of each meeting set an agenda for the next meeting to help members focus and prepare

  • Establish set meeting and ending times. Stick to the set time schedule.

  • Hint: Talking about school is a diversion. It often happens when students feel anxiety about material. Some people establish a “fund” to which people who divert the focus must contribute. This provides resources for a party after exams!

Agenda choices
Agenda Choices

  • Focus in meeting

    • One subject or more than one each meeting

    • Stick to set subject or jump to course that provides current confusion

  • Type of Focus

    • Oral discussion

    • Writing problems

      • Remember that you get good at skills you practice and the exam is a written exercise!

      • Try having group write answers to a hypo and trade answers. Then construct a group answer.

      • Creating hypos is an excellent exercise for groups and for individuals to bring to the group.

    • Taking turns explaining and questioning


  • Organizing is important to learning and to writing exams. In a study group, note some of these important elements:

    • Patterns

    • Legal tests

    • Steps of analysis

  • Answers to exam questions must be organized

    • Be sure to have a planning step when approaching exam questions and hypos in a study group

      • Brainstorm issues and facts that support your legal theories, and then organize them to be most responsive to question

      • Use your outline/organizing tool to help plan

Tasks change with time in semester
Tasks Change With Time in Semester

  • In the beginning groups commonly clarify class notes, but quickly they need to move to applying what they are learning to test their understanding.

  • Don’t put off planning and writing practice problems

    • Easier to understand material by using concrete examples

    • Try to create hypos in your group – then vary the facts and see if or how that changes your analysis

  • Organize materials individually, but:

    • Test your organizing by using your system in study group with writing answers to hypos

    • Trade answers, read, critique, discuss, and improve

  • Before exams groups often meet frequently to do practice questions.

Work together teaching and learning
Work Together: Teaching and Learning

  • Commit to the success of each member of your group!

Your questions


Your Questions