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Monday, June 24, 2019

Study Groups Help Students Succeed

  • Justin Rutt (far left) leads a study group for CEM 140.

For generations, college students have benefited from informal study groups where classmates get together to compare notes. At WCC, Learning Support Services has made some groups even more helpful by providing a leader and a little structure. The goal is simple: to give students one more tool to help them succeed.

“Students report they do better by attending the study groups,” said Debra Guerrero, director of Learning Support Services.

A student who has successfully completed the class and is either recommended by an instructor or has experience tutoring leads each study group. The leader gets formal training in directing a group, attends all class sessions, reads the assigned material, and meets regularly with the instructor.

Groups typically meet for hour-long sessions two or more times a week. The sessions usually include reviews, practice problems, and discussions about lecture content. Students also learn study skills, such as how to pick out the most important information to study, Guerrero said. And having a designated time for studying can help, too, she added.

Some students attend every study group session, Guerrero said, while others only attend around exams. “They can come whenever they want,” she said.

Study groups are available this semester for five classes: three in chemistry and two in physics. The chemistry classes are 111, 140, and 211, and the physics classes are 111 and 122.

Meeting days and times are announced in each class at the beginning of the semester, and each registered student also receives an email about the sessions.

Instruction in the study groups is designed to be supplementary, not remedial. “They’re really targeted toward the average student,” Guerrero said. Students who are having a hard time in a class are welcome in study groups, Guerrero said, although there’s a presumption that students have some understanding of the material. The reviews also can help students who are doing well, she said.

The study groups complement individual tutoring in the sciences that’s available from the Math & Science Tutoring and Resource Center in room 201 of the Gunder Myran building. The advantage of study groups, Guerrero said, is the interaction with classmates. “You can get input from other students and hear their questions,” she said. “Sometimes that helps promote understanding.”

Learning Support Services is happy to consider requests from instructors to create study groups for their classes for the upcoming semester. Instructors must make a commitment to the study groups for them to succeed, Guerrero said. “They have to be an integral part of the whole process,” she said.

For more information about creating a study group, instructors can contact Guerrero by emailing , calling 734-973-3342, or stopping by Learning Support Services in room 104 of the Crane Liberal Arts & Science building.

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