Coronavirus Updates:

For the latest COVID-19 news and information, visit Penn State's Coronavirus Information website.

Guided Study Groups (GSG) - Frequently Asked Questions

What actually happens in a GSG session?

Once you review the GSG course and session schedule, select the days and times of the week that suits your study schedule, and go to the assigned location.  You are highly encouraged to read your text and begin working on homework or other assignments prior to attending the GSG sessions.  In the sessions the leader will help you and your peers review key concepts, associated laws, formulas, graphs, etc.  They will invite you and your peers to work together in pairs or small groups and work at the board.  A key to one having a successful GSG experience is to be a willing and active participant.  The GSG sessions provide students with a safe environment in which they can openly discuss the knowns and unknowns of the course.  Remember:  There are no dumb questions!  So, bring your questions, come prepared to work in groups, get to know some peers in your large lecture course and have some fun while learning the material. 

Who are GSG Leaders and what do they do? 

GSG leaders are undergraduate students who have taken the course before and have met academic success.  GSG leaders also attend the current course lectures with you.  This gives them insight into what you are currently studying and allows them to experience the class just as you do.  Whether you have one question or simply want to keep up with the material from week to week, you and your peers will work and think through things together.

IMPORTANT NOTE: GSG leaders are not TAs.  You are encouraged to attend your TA’s and faculty office hours and visit department resource rooms (e.g., Chemistry & Physics Resource Rooms) for additional assistance.

What if the GSG leader doesn’t attend the lecture time that I attend?

Due to the high enrollment and number of sections for several first-year courses, we are unable to hire a leader for every section or lecture time.  However, if you do not see a leaders’ name associated with your course, we still invite you to come to the sessions.   You will have an opportunity to participate in a group setting, ask questions and obtain clarification of information that you are seeking.  In the event that the course material and exams differ significantly from the majority of the sections, you will be encouraged to work with your specific course TA, faculty or departmental resources more directly.   Again, you are welcome to attend any and all GSG sessions. 

Why should I attend the GSG sessions regularly? 

Establishing and utilizing a structured study schedule and learning environment will contribute to a positive academic experience.  Benefits for participating in the GSG sessions include but are not limited to regularly scheduled time on task with your course content; learning how to articulate your thoughts and formulate questions about what you know and don’t know about the subject matter; reviewing and preparing for quizzes and exams and having an opportunity to engage in a fun and structured learning environment with classmates who seek to excel academically.    

Is my faculty member notified about my GSG participation?

Students who attend the GSG sessions are encouraged to sign-in during each session.  This confidential information is used by Penn State Learning staff to track participation in this free service and to help us prepare accordingly for fluctuating attendance, especially closer to exams.  Faculty members are never notified as to who does or does not participate in the study sessions.  However, you, the student, may openly share with your faculty member that you attend the sessions.   

Do I receive extra credit for attending GSG sessions?

Your participation in the GSG sessions is purely voluntary.  We want you to take responsibility and ownership of your learning by taking advantage of the wonderful academic support services that the university offers.  Therefore, extra credit is not suggested by faculty, who teach the GSG related course.

Are GSG sessions offered for World Campus or Continuing Education courses?

GSG sessions are currently offered for several high enrollment first-year residential courses.  However, some other types of group arrangements are in place to support a few World Campus courses in math and statistics.   Visit our "TUTORING" tab to view services and schedules for these courses.