Are Study Groups Better Than Studying on Your Own?
Is studying in a group a recipe for disaster or the secret to success? Find out the answer in this article.
Updated 05 Mar 2019
Everyone has their own study methods, and one of the ways to truly enhance learning (or to push yourself to actually open a book) is to form study groups.
But isn’t getting together with your friends a recipe for commotion and procrastination instead of concentration? Are study groups relevant for everyone or just the extroverts? And more importantly, is it effective?
Experience a deeper level of learning
You are right in thinking that grouping a bunch of homogenous friends might spell fun and distraction instead of focus on learning.
However, decades of academic research have shown that studying in groups can help you learn more effectively. In fact, a recent study reveals that when students study together, the material is being learned at a deeper level.
This is due to the “pattern of looking down, thinking about what the professor said and then looking up and putting it into your own words”. By simplifying and paraphrasing your notes to verbally discuss with your peers, you are able to grasp and absorb the material more easily compared to studying on your own.
A boost for your motivation
Not only do study groups help you learn at a deeper level, it can also further increase your motivation.
Having a team that depends on you can elevate your spirit and willingness to commit to studying as well as increase your own focus since you will be assisting other team members who might be struggling with certain parts of a subject. This means that you will be pivotal to your team member’s success, and when you are given such responsibility, your commitment to seeing it through will likely increase.
In addition, due to the social factor of study groups, you are able to break the monotonous feel that you might get when studying alone. With study groups, you will always have willing participants to discuss topics or help you comprehend topics that you may find tedious.
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No more learning gaps
A key component of study groups is that you will be sharing whatever materials you have, and others will also do the same. Comparing notes will allow you to fill in parts that you might be missing. It’s a great chance to evaluate the accuracy of your notes and correct any errors you might have, as well as improve your note-taking techniques.
Filling in learning gaps is not restricted to just sharing notes, it also works on learning techniques. As you group together, you will learn new perspectives on topics and discover fresh learning techniques and tricks. While your own tactics may have worked well for you so far, it never hurts to try different methods of learning and memorising. This is a way to improve your own study methods.
The team matters
With all that said, nothing is more important than the members of your study group. The success of group study is highly dependent on the contribution of each member and how you structure your team.
To ensure you breathe success, here are some crucial tips.
(a) Limit the number of members
The optimal number of people for your study group is between 4-5 people. In bigger groups, you risk having inactive members who may not contribute as much. Working within the magic number of members will allow you to maximise individual concentration and minimise needless and unrelated conversation as well as socialisation.
(b) Carefully select your team
It is vital to choose exactly the right people to join your group. They can be friends or classmates, as long as they share a common goal of earning good grades. When your members are dedicated to succeed, they will be more likely to read required materials beforehand, prepare notes and be an active member in discussions.
(c) Create the perfect setting
The place and duration of your study sessions play important roles in ensuring a group study’s fruitfulness. Choose a place with minimal distraction where group members can discuss freely without the fear of disturbing others. It’s also important to avoid studying for too long a period as group members may lose concentration and end up socialising instead.
There are numerous benefits that come with study groups. One thing that’s for sure is that they can be effective if done correctly. So aim high and reach for excellence!