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Studying In Groups Vs. Studying Alone: Which Is Better?

Group of students studying.

Many students are unsure if it’s more time efficient to study with a group of classmates or on their own. Sometimes students prefer the independence and control of studying alone. Other students need a study group to help motivate them.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of group study vs self-study, and when students should choose either option.

Benefits of Studying Alone

Fewer Distractions

Students who choose to study alone can focus completely on the material. They don’t have to worry about study sessions turning into hangout sessions because they’re with friends. With self-study, students can place 100% of their attention on what they have to learn for the test.

Control Over Study Environment

All students have different study strategies for preparing for tests. Some students want to sit in their own rooms listening to soft background music. Others need to be in a public space with lots going on around them to keep focused. Studying alone allows students to study in an environment that’s perfect for them.

Control Over Study Schedule

Some students work better at night time, others work better during the day. When students study alone they can plan a study schedule that works best for them and take breaks when they please. When students study in a group, the priority is finding a time that works for everyone, not finding a time that is most effective for studying. Studying alone allows students the freedom to choose when they want to study and for how long.

Study Group Benefits

Discussing Concepts With Others Tests Comprehension

A true test in knowing if a student understands a concept or not is if he or she is able to explain it to someone else. Studying with others gives your child an opportunity to better understand the topic by discussing it with someone else. If a student draws a blank when someone asks him or her to explain a concept, it means that the student has to study more.

Helps Clarify Any Questions

Not understanding a concept and having no one around to help can be very frustrating. A major benefit of studying in a group is being able to ask classmates if something doesn’t make sense. Having other students around to help review concepts can also offer a deeper understanding of the class material.

Motivates Students To Study

If your student works best with others, study groups can be a great option. Many students derive energy from being around other people and look forward to learning and discussing material with classmates. Having a study group will also make your child more accountable. Other people are counting on him or her to help with studying, so it’s less likely that he or she will skip studying.

When It’s Best To Study Alone

If The Study Group is Getting Too Talkative

The priority of a study group is—studying! If the study group is talking about things that are off-topic, then it’s best that the student studies alone. It’s good to take a break from studying and socialize; however, if students are using a study group as a way to meet up with friends and talk, your child may get more out of studying alone.

Meetings Keep Getting Rescheduled

Depending on the size of the study group, it can be incredibly difficult coordinating a time and place that works for everyone. If meetings keep getting rescheduled or cancelled, then it’s better to just start studying alone. This way your child isn’t waiting on other people to hit the books and start preparing for the upcoming test.

The Student Has A Very Different Level of Understanding Than The Group

If a student is just starting to learn course concepts and the study group is reviewing more advanced concepts, he or she won’t be able to keep up. It’s best to learn the material on his or her own time then return to the group to review. The same goes for if he or she understands all the course concepts and the group hasn’t started studying yet.

When It’s Best To Study With Others

If It’s Easier To Memorize Information By Discussing It

If your student is an auditory learner (meaning he or she needs to hear and say things in order to learn concepts) then he or she may benefit from studying in a group. Study groups are a great environment to promote discussion and auditory learning. If your student is an auditory learner but doesn’t have access to a study group—he or she can always study alone and repeat concepts out loud.

Classmates Are Motivated To Study

If your child finds other classmates who are motivated to learn, they can motivate each other to study really effectively. Students can tell if their study group is serious about school if they keep chit-chat to a minimum, don’t rush through concepts, and focus on comprehension rather than memorization.

Your Student Is Motivated By Others

Some students need others around in order to study—otherwise they’re just not motivated. Having other students around who are motivated to learn will help keep your child attentive, engaged, and on track.

More Study Resources

11 Bad Study Habits To Avoid… And Become A More Successful Student

Common Types Of Test Takers (And Study Tips For Each)

How To Study Effectively: 12 Secrets For Success

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