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Peer-Guided Study Groups

Peer-Guided Study Groups help you stay on track in challenging courses.

Peer Guided StudyThey provide students in a number of Northwestern courses a small, comfortable learning community that meets regularly throughout the quarter to support student learning and course success.

How do they work?

Students enrolled in an array of first-and second-year courses have the option of enrolling in a Peer-Guided Study Group alongside the course. Study Group participants meet weekly in groups of about 5 to 7 and a peer facilitator — another student who has taken and done well in the course (or, in some cases, an equivalent course). In the two-hour meetings, students talk through key concepts from the course, ask questions on points of confusion and help answer one another’s questions, and work through practice problems or exercises together. The Study Groups are highly collaborative, comfortable environments where undergraduates can learn from one another and help one another succeed.

What courses do they cover?

Peer-Guided Study Groups will be available for the following courses:

  • Biology 215, 217, 219, and 301 (Genetics, Physiology, Cell Biology, Principles of Biochemistry)
  • Chemistry 110, 131, 132 (General Chemistry)
  • Chemistry 151, 152 (Accelerated General Chemistry)
  • Chemistry 210-1, -2, -3 (Organic Chemistry)
  • Economics 201, 202 (Intro to Macroeconomics, Intro to Microeconomics)
  • Economics 310-1, -2 (Microeconomics)
  • Engineering Analysis 1-4 (General Engineering 205-1,2,3,4)
  • Math 212, 213, 214, 220, 224, 230 (Calculus sequences)
  • Physics 130-1, -2, -3 and 135-1, -2, -3 (College Physics, General Physics)
  • Statistics 202, 210 (Intro to Statistics, Intro Statistics for the Social Sciences)

Who can join, and when can I register?

Any student enrolled in the accompanying course can join a Study Group. Students who are looking for a supportive, community-oriented learning experience and some additional support with the course may find the Study Groups particularly useful. If you are enrolled in one of the supported courses, you will receive information on registration at the beginning of the quarter. Registration for study groups is through CAESAR and opens on the first day of classes.

What is the benefit?

Participants enjoy being part of a small, friendly learning community within large, rigorous courses. Having a set time to focus on the course material each week also helps participants stay on track in the course. Program evaluations show that students participating in small-group, peer-led study at Northwestern tend to find that their confidence in the course material increases, and that they improve their study skills. Many students also find that they learn the material at a deeper level, and that their grades improve.

Megan Anderson

I originally decided to join a study group to stay on top of the material covered in class, but study group was way more than that. I really benefited from having a space outside of office hours where I could ask any questions I had and discuss material in more depth.”

Megan Anderson, WCAS 2018

Obumneme Osele

Participating in a study group allowed me to come to class better prepared to learn and be engaged throughout the course.”

Obumneme Osele, McCormick 2021

The impact of peer-led study

A large body of research points to many benefits of peer-based learning, including an enhanced course experience, deeper learning, and improved grade outcomes. We have conducted a number of studies on our Northwestern programs – learn more about our research-based approach.

How can I become a peer facilitator?

We recruit for facilitators each spring. We look for students who have a strong command of the subject (although straight A's are not necessary), and who have good interpersonal skills and a desire to help others succeed. If you are interested in applying, please contact us.

Questions about peer-guided study groups?

For more information, please contact us.