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In Fall 2020, McGill students were surveyed on tips and strategies for how they learn best. Check out what they said and try one for yourself!

Virtual Study Group Toolkit

This toolkit has been assembled in collaboration with Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) to help you make the most of your study groups! Check out the information below or download the PDF document to save and share.

📄 Download the Virtual Study Group Toolkit PDF


Study halls vs. study groups

Study halls

  • Independent studying with a group of people
  • Creates a sense of community
  • Set times with regular breaks
  • Meetings are not mandatory

Study groups

  • Students from the same course working together to a shared goal
  • Smaller groups (3-5 people)
  • Set times
  • Meetings are mandatory

Things to think about

  • Groups can be private or public (think about who you would like to have access)
  • Make sure you provide a description with the goals and norms for the group
  • Think about how you want to moderate the group

Online platforms

Tips for an active study group

  1. Create a schedule. Plan when and where. Stay consistent.
  2. Schedule breaks. Schedule in phone breaks and time for chatting so you can stay focused while working.
  3. Come prepared. Complete all assignments, review notes and write down any questions.
  4. Assign roles. Note-taker, facilitator, time keeper etc. Try to volunteer for roles that stretch you!
  5. Create group norms. What is the purpose of the group? What is expected of each member?
  6. Set goals. Set goals for each meeting—what do you want to get done?

Being a positive group member

Organize your study environment

Keep your space organized and away from distractions.

Ask questions

Stay active during group discussions! Ask questions and make sure you understand.

Stay positive

Remind your group about the importance of staying positive—you are all here to learn!


Running your virtual study group

  1. Check-in

    Review group norms. This is important to make sure everyone knows the expectations.

    Set goals for today. What do you hope to accomplish during this meeting?

    Check-in with group members. Ask how everyone is feeling. Is there anything we should be aware of?

  2. Work

    Create a schedule to meet all your goals. Make a plan for today and stick with it!

    Make time for breaks. Taking times for breaks will make your work time more focused.

    Stay on topic. You are all here to learn. Make the most of your time together.

  3. Check-out

    Review what was accomplished. Did you cover everything? What was missed?

    Divide roles/tasks for next meeting. Plan what needs to get done before you meet again.

    Check-out activity. Ask how everyone is feeling. Were everyone's needs met?

Additional resources

Study group additional information

Online platforms

Tips for an active study group

Tips for being a positive group member

Other online learning resources

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any questions and/or concerns, we'd love to hear from you! 

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