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5 Steps for a Great Study Session

How to have an effective group study session

If it weren’t for my group study sessions, I probably wouldn’t have made it through CRNA school. My group and I met every single Saturday for two and a half years to study and prepare for exams. Sometimes the biggest challenge in school is studying effectively. When studying with others, you can bounce ideas around and share knowledge, like mnemonics and other quick ways to remember information. Holding an effective group study session is sometimes a challenge in and of itself. Too many people, no focus, time limits, etc., can make for a wasted day of studying. As any CRNA or SRNA will tell you, there’s no room for wasted days in CRNA school. Below are a few simple suggestions to make sure your study sessions are effective and beneficial.

1. Limit members- It’s important not to have too many people in the group. Personally, I wouldn’t have more than four people in one study session. Be selective with who you invite to your study session. Make sure that you are NOT the smartest student in the group. If you are, it’s time to get another study group. You want to be able to learn from the members of the group, not be the one that is doing all the teaching. Remember it’s OK to say no. Sometimes you let people in to the study group because you feel bad or afraid they may think you are rude, but these same people end up disrupting the study session. This is your career and your time to be a little bit selfish, so say NO if you need to.

2. Choosing a place- Choose a place to study that is conducive to learning. I, for example, have a hard time studying outside or in public places (coffee shops, parks). I get distracted too easily. Most libraries have private rooms you can reserve, and those come in very handy. Studying at home is also an option, but make sure to rotate the sessions among the group members. It’s nice to leave your own home sometimes.

3. Have a plan- Set a defined time for the session. Break up your studying so as not to get burned out quickly. A good rule is to take a 15-minute break every hour or so. Decide what you will study each session. Will you be going over your notes, a specific chapter, read over power point presentations from class? Whatever your method is going to be, make sure that all group members are on board and work together.

4. Choose a “leader”- Every time you meet, have someone else be the “leader”. This person will be in charge of the flow of the study session. Their job is to read notes out loud, facilitate the discussion, and mainly bring everyone back to focus when the group goes off on a tangent. Everyone in the group should hold each other accountable, but the leader sort of runs the session.

5. Have food (plenty of food)- Everyone loves food, and everyone learns better on a full stomach. Take turns “hosting” the study session, and providing food. I suggest, always have a salad and a poultry dish!


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