Study Groups

What if I am not offered CÉIM?

CÉIM is offered to students in many disciplines across three colleges, and we are continuing to grow! Peer-to-peer learning is proven to help students gain a better understanding of their course content, so if CÉIM is not currently offered on your course, it could be worthwhile spending a short amount of time setting up a study group.

See our Take Part section to find our more about who can take part in CÉIM, how to take part and the times of the sessions.

 

What is the purpose of a study group?

Study groups are a great tool for sharing study techniques and ideas, asking questions and revising coursework. They also provide a brilliant opportunity to meet new people on your course, and develop core transferable skills such as teamwork, communication, decision-making, leadership, problem solving and more.  

Benefits of Study Groups

If you are part of a study group, you will have the time and space to ask questions about content that you do not understand or just simply did not get to ask during lecture time. You can also answer the questions of your peers and solidify your own understanding of course material. A study group is a space where you can meet others, make mistakes and learn new skills from your peers such as study techniques, while having fun and informed discussions about your course and its topics.  

How do I create a study group?

The easiest way to create a study group is to start with your friends and branch out from there, or to contact your class representative. Where someone is part of a Society, they may even consider using one of their events, i.e. speed friending, to reach out to students who have common interests in order to set up new groups.  

If contacting your class representative, you could ask them to send out a message to your course group chat (or do this yourself if that is possible) to see if there is any interest in creating a study group. You could supply the class rep with a link to a short MS Office Forms or similar, so students could provide their contact details if they are interested.  

The photo to the left shows a sample text message that you may want to send to your course group chat to assess whether there is any interest in forming a study group or groups. 

When a study group is created, it is a great idea to set up a separate group chat either on WhatsApp or a social media app so that you can discuss content and set times and places to meet.  
 
 

How do I create a study group?

The easiest way to create a study group is to start with your friends and branch out from there, or to contact your class representative. When contacting your class representative, you could ask them to send out a message to your course group chat (or do this yourself if that is possible) to see if there is any interest in creating a study group. You could supply the class rep with a link to a short MS Office Forms or similar, so students could provide their contact details if they are interested.  

The photo under this section shows a sample text that you may want to send to your main group chat to assess whether there is any interest in forming a study group or groups. 

When a study group is created, it is a great idea to set up a separate group chat either on WhatsApp or a social media app so that you can discuss content and set times and places to meet.  
 
Where someone is part of a Society, they may even consider using one of their events, i.e. speed friending, to reach out to students who have common interests in order to set up new groups.  

 

The next image shows a screenshot of a sample Microsoft Form that you can take inspiration from. It contains simple questions asking for things such as name, contact details, preferred study group duration and whether they would like to be considered as a study group leader / facilitator.

Questions you can consider asking when creating a study group could include:

  • How long would your ideal group study session be?

  • How often would you like to meet?

  • What day suits best to meet?

  • Would you be interested in being the group leader / facilitator?

  • Where would you prefer the study group chat to be set up?

How do I get started?

A study group can seem a bit daunting in the beginning, but there are lots of handy tools that you can use to help kick off discussions and decide what you would like to do as a group! 

Building the group

Try to keep your study group relatively small. This should be a comfortable space for everyone to ask questions without fearing judgement and be relatively easy to find a time that suits everyone. Generally, a group of 4-6 people creates a great study group. If more people than this are interested, multiple study groups could be set up. 

All members should be willing to work and be committed to the group goal of a successful study session. When creating the group, you can try to nominate a person or have a person nominate themselves as the group leader or facilitator – this could be a rotating role, and entails being responsible for setting up polls and a group document, booking a study space, and communicating in the group chat with the details of the time and place the group will be meeting. It’s often helpful to meet at the same time each week or every two weeks.  

Shared online resources

Create a shared group document using Padlet, OneDrive, SharePointOneNote, or Google Docs in which you can set out all the subjects or topics you plan to cover in the study group. Under each topic, you can then add questions that you would like to cover as they come to mind, and save any relevant resources and materials you have created. 

Padlet is a fantastic tool that allows for the sharing of diverse types of materials, links, comments and questions – and the user can choose to remain anonymous when contributing. If you are using this method, one person will need to nominate themselves to create the Padlet or shared document.

Any questions study group members share in the group document can then be used to start up discussions once you have chosen your topic for that study session. It is best to enter a study session with work already prepared, so try to look over and consider how to answer a few of the questions yourself ahead of time! 

Agreeing on topics to cover

It’s important to agree what you want to undertake in your group study session. This will ensure that you get the most out of your time together, and prevents any tension over disagreements. Agreeing on the topic ahead of the group study session also allows time for preparation of questions or answers, and helps to organise how much focus each topic will need without leaving anything important out.

You might agree in a study session what to cover next time you meet or there are various online tools such as WhatsApp polls, Microsoft Forms, Vevox, Mentimeter and more that you can use to poll the group about what topic they would like to focus on. All are free to use, and as a student of University of Galway you will have access to Microsoft Forms and Vevox through your student account.  

Structuring the session

Something the group will have to agree on is how the session will be structured.  
Consider asking yourself a few questions such as: 

    • How long are the sessions going to be, and when and where will they take place?

    • Do we want to cover one topic for an hour, or multiple topics within the time?

    • If multiple topics, how much time will we dedicate to each and how should that be decided?

    • Will this be a quiet workspace for studying, or more conversational/collaborative where chat and questions are encouraged to work through problems?

    • Will we need any materials, for example, pens for writing on a whiteboard to create things such as mind maps?

    • Are we going to include taking turns presenting on a topic?

    • What skills do we want to develop during our time together?

    • Should we try to work through a past exam paper together, and if so, how will we split the workload?

    • Will we have enough time at the end of the session to review what we have worked on and learned?

Helping each other

A group study space is a great tool not only for learning and overcoming your own challenges with course material, but also to solidify your knowledge of a topic by proving that you can explain it to someone else. Consider having a discussion with your group members on which topics they find they have done well in, versus which subjects they would like a hand in understanding. When you have had a chance to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the group, you could try setting up a paired / smaller group study session where students who are confident in a topic help the students who feel less confident about it.  

Where do we meet?

It will be really beneficial for your study group to agree on a few common places where you can all get together and work or study as a group. You can meet in various areas across campus such as the James Hardiman Library group study rooms, the outdoor study pods, in the SU Síbín, Smokey’s or SULT, in the J.E. Cairnes Group Study area or PC Suite, or you can even find an empty classroom in buildings such as the Engineering Building which also has seating areas and a café.  

Booking a group study room in the library

Visit the University of Galway Library website, and click on ‘Group Study Roomson the main page to book a space. From here, you can choose the booking category, capacity, zone, date and duration of time. When booking, you will need to provide your full name and University of Galway student email address.  

In these rooms, you will have access to a whiteboard so it is a good idea to purchase a pack of whiteboard markers for you and your study group to use when creating mind maps, working through exam questions etc.

Please note that these rooms are not soundproof and are located within the main library – so while talking is allowed in these rooms, it is important that you respect the students studying around you. 

Outdoor study pods

A new addition to the University of Galway campus are the outdoor study pods. These can be accessed using you student card; however, you must activate the access to them on your card by visiting the Security Office from Monday – Friday from 7am to 6pm. Each pod can seat six persons, and each pod is WiFi enabled.   

These pods will not be accessible outside of the listed hours (7am to 6pm) even if you have the access activated on your student card. Please ensure that you have all of your belongings with your before you leave these spaces. In the event that you do leave any items behind, you will have to contact Security and wait for them to unlock the pod.

Outdoor study pods

A new addition to the University of Galway campus are the outdoor study pods. These can be accessed using you student card; however, you must activate the access to them on your card by visiting the Security Office from Monday – Friday from 7am to 6pm. Each pod can seat six persons, and each pod is WiFi enabled.   

These pods will not be accessible outside of the listed hours (7am to 6pm) even if you have the access activated on your student card. Please ensure that you have all of your belongings with your before you leave these spaces. In the event that you do leave any items behind, you will have to contact Security and wait for them to unlock the pod.

Have other any other ideas about Study Groups? Get in touch!

If you have any recommendations about creating and running study groups, you can contact us by email at su.ceim@universityofgalway.ie. Happy studying, and we look forward to hearing from you!