What is the 10-30-10 Method?

At first, you may think planning group study sessions for students that span two to three hours a week is a daunting task. It does certainly sound like a lot after all – students tend to get nervous at the sound of any oral projects or presentations. But have no fear. We have processes and people in place to help you create active and engaging study sessions. What’s the secret?

SI Leaders Don't Do All the Talking

It’s true. We don’t even come close to doing all the talking. You might even hear your mentor joke that if someone managed to hold an SI session without speaking a word, it would be the best session ever. How can you help the students through material they don’t know very well without much talking?

You help them help themselves… and each other. All the structure you will find in this section aims toward the SI leader facilitating an activity, but the real driving force is the students’ desire to learn. You will learn how a new mindset toward academic assistance makes helping students a snap!

The Setup

Learning is a lot like working out. You must exercise your knowledge and push your understanding to the limits before it will grow. Throughout this section, we will look at session planning the same way in what’s called the 10-30-10 method. Developed by the Center for Academic Enhancement at Texas A&M University, the 10-30-10 method encourages structure to improve session quality in subjects where the material naturally builds upon itself.

There are three phases of the 10-30-10 method: warm up, work out, and cool down. Through this structure students will be led to feel comfortable with new material, rehearse and understand new topics, and leave without feeling overwhelmed. Over time, veteran leaders begin experimenting with the format to find new and better methods, but new leaders are encouraged to stick with the formula at first.


Texas A&M University named their structure 10-30-10 because each number corresponds to the number of minutes allotted for each phase of the SI session: warm up, work out, and cool down.