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Student life at BI

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Why Study Groups Are a Great Learning Tool

Halló allir! My name is Hildur, and I am a first-year M.Sc. Leadership & Organizational Psychology student from Iceland. Study groups are great for so many different reasons and I want to share with you what I’ve found to be one of the most undervalued learning tools for succeeding at BI.

Full Name: Hildur Davíðsdóttir
Home Country: Iceland
Bachelor's degree: International Management with a concentration in Human Resources (minor in Psychology)
Previous University: Pace University, New York, USA
Current programme at BI: MSc in Leadership & Organizational Psychology

Today, I wanted to share with you what I’ve found to be one of the most undervalued learning tools for succeeding at BI and for making friends quickly in university! Especially if you are considering pursuing a program like mine that involves a lot of reading. In fact, the tremendous amount of reading material for one of my classes this semester was what inspired me and a few other students from my program to form a study group – or as the Norwegians call it, “Kollokviegruppe.”

Study groups are great for so many different reasons, but these are a few of my favorite ones:

1. They keep you accountable

When you’re a part of a group like this, you are less likely to procrastinate – after all, you aren’t going to want to be the only one that isn’t prepared during meetings. The others are depending on you to contribute!

2. They offer support

You’ll always have someone you can ask for help. If there’s something you don’t understand, there is a good chance someone else in the group does and can explain it to you.

3. They teach collaboration and teamwork

The whole point of a study group is to work as a team – to collaborate and support each other. Taking part in a study group is, therefore, a great way to develop your teamwork skills – which are highly valued by employers nowadays!

4. They help you cover more material

Study “smarter, not harder” – You can split up readings and create summaries for one another, divide exam preparation questions, and so forth.

5. They make learning fun

It doesn’t feel like studying! It feels more like having a casual conversation with your friends, but you’re actually learning from it.

6. You’ll always have someone to sit next to in class!

Oh, this was a big one for me! Especially at the beginning of the semester when I didn’t know anyone yet.

And the list goes on and on and on..

Being a part of a study group this semester has saved me so much time studying on my own. I also understand the material better and have more time for my social life - A win-win situation!

In my experience, study groups are effective if:

1. They consist of about 5-7 students..

..Or a number large enough to prevent “small talk” and small enough so all students can actively contribute.

2. All group members share a common goal of earning good grades

Being on the same page is key to all teamwork, so make sure to discuss your goals with your teammates during your first meeting. You don’t want to waste anyone's time or have anyone waste yours.

3. Study sessions are kept around 2 hours in length

If the sessions are longer, there’s a good chance you’ll go off-topic. If they are much shorter, you likely won’t be able to cover everything on the agenda.

4. There is an agenda for each session

At the end of each session, divide readings for the next week and write down the focus of the next session. This way, everyone knows the plan and can prepare, making the sessions more effective.

So, if you want to form a good study group yourself, I suggest you at least keep these points in mind.

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The truth is, whether you’re a bachelor’s or a master’s student, the amount of work assigned can feel overwhelming, especially when you are beginning a new program in a country where you don’t know how courses are structured or how the grading scale works – so, I encourage you to try forming your own Kollokviegruppe at BI! I don’t know where I’d be today without my mine.

P.S. I have a blog myself that covers topics such as effective study methods, time management and habit building for university students. Here is the link: www.hildurdavids.com. Check it out!