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26 November 2018

Top tips for online study groups

A study group is an excellent way to consolidate or expand your understanding of a topic and revise for exams. It’s important to put some thought and effort into any group activity to make sure it’s productive. Get the most out of your study group by following these tips.


There are plenty of ways your study group can meet online. If you’d prefer to speak to people over video chat you can download Skype for Business from the Deakin Software Library and use the video conference feature. You can also download collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Microsoft OneDrive or choose an online space from any number of apps and social media sites. Decide which of these methods works for the group and get started.

Looking to find a study group? Consider posting a callout for study partners on your unit site discussion board and Deakin’s Cloud Campus Facebook group.

Be prepared

The more prepared you are for a group study session the more productive the group will be. First, decide as a group what you want to achieve. Then you can choose someone from the group to write up an agenda with all the details of the session beforehand and send it to the group. An agenda doesn’t have to be a precise plan, but it should specify topics, tasks and goals and include any preparation the group members need to complete before the session.

It’s a great idea to set times for each task you want to complete, from discussing a reading to answering practice questions. Try and stick to these times!

Be open

Getting and giving feedback is one of the most valuable parts of working with a group. Remember to be constructive and considerate and ask plenty of questions.

Debating a point is a great way to test your level of understanding. If you have a different opinion from one of your members, let them know in a respectful and constructive way. Talking it over will help you reach a greater understanding. You might even want to hold some mock debates and argue a topic from two different points of view.

Use your time wisely

Remember, the point of a study group is to study! Think about adding a 10-minute catch-up to the start of the agenda before diving straight into the first task.

Having a leader for each study session can really help keep the group on track. The session leader can gently move the discussion back to the study topic if things start to go off the rails.


At the end of each study session, take 10 minutes to review what you went over and what areas you missed and ask any questions you might have. Plan your next study session, the date and time and what you want to cover.

If the group as a whole wasn’t sure about certain concepts, find a way to bring it up in your unit’s online discussions or ask your lecturer.

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