Study Alone vs. Group Study

As we all enter into college, or have been here for a couple semesters, studying still stands as something that can constantly be improved upon. Heading into every single quiz, exam, or project it is always impertinent that you study before hand to be as prepared as possible. However, what is the best way to study? Do I go sit in the deep gallows of the stacks, completely isolated, or do I gather with a few of my friends who are also studying?

Studying Alone

Studying alone can also have many different parameters, from being completely isolated from all civilization in the stacks, to simply being a table by yourself with your headphones in. This strategy absolutely comes with different advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages to studying alone are that it minimizes distraction, allows you to pace yourself, and can improve your focus. When you are by yourself, distraction is minimized due to the lack of other interaction you have other than with your schoolwork. You can take breaks whenever you feel overwhelmed, or even read at a speed that suits you. This pacing of your own work can be extremely beneficial to you, for no one knows you better than yourself. Lastly, the improvement of focus that comes with studying alone is crucial. This lets you have the flexibility to learn different sections that you personally need improvement on as well as leave less stress on aspects you may have already mastered (

Disadvantages to studying alone is not having your peers and friends around you to push you to study if you become off task. Even the best of studiers can sometimes become off task for hours without even realizing it. Having that group around you will allow you to push to maximize the time you spend studying (

Group Studying 

When you study in a group of people, like studying alone, will come with advantages and disadvantages. Group studying typically involves anywhere from one to four other people that will studying either the same, or different, material that you are. Some advantages to this study technique are it can increase retention, expand access to information, and boost motivation to study. This increased retention will come from the ability to vocalize ideas you may have to someone else, a technique that is proven to allow you to remember information better. Along with this will come the knowledge not just that you have, but the knowledge from everyone else around the table. The biggest advantage will come from the increased motivation that comes from a group study. Having others around you that are also studying, will prevent distraction and allow you to maximize this study effort (

Disadvantage that accompany studying in a group is that you can only be as productive as the group’s weakest link. This means that if there is one person that is extremely distracted, too loud, or constantly being outlandish it can be detrimental to the group as a whole. If that one person is off, every single member of the group can suffer for his or her actions (


I think that one way in which this could be decided is through a study. This study could gather random people that are separated into random group. Then each group will either study individually or within a group, and given an exam to see who scores better. Obviously there will be a large amount of confounding variables such as previous intelligence and an individual’s habits. This is just an idea that could be purposed in order to determine which study method yields better school performance.


Every single person studies and performs in different ways, whether that be with a group of friends or independently. Studying is no different. In order to succeed you must try each option and stick to what works. Personally, I enjoy studying with groups because I feel less stress and feel like they keep me on task more often. When I am studying alone I can sometimes catch myself an hour into random videos on YouTube. Each method has several different advantages and disadvantages, it is up to you to decide which method will yield the best results.


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5 thoughts on “Study Alone vs. Group Study

  1. Ryan Metz

    I find that when I am studying for a test, I prefer to study on my own. This is simply for the reason that I do not like distractions, which group studying would definitely provide. The only exception my preferences is helping someone study. I find this to be extremely effective when trying to learn material. To me, if I can teach someone else something, I know that topic well enough. If I can not teach someone to do it then I clearly need to look at it again. Overall though, I would rather study by myself while listening to music because movement and other distractions would cause me to focus less on what I am studying.

  2. Jennifer Lee Wales

    I found this blog to be very interesting and informative. With finals and midterms coming up, the question of the best way to study is almost always on my mind. You did a really great job at displaying all the positive and negative aspects of each option. There are also other variables involved such as what the subject is, how many people are studying together, what time it is and the location.

  3. Kristen Lauren Mckenzie

    I liked reading your blog, I think you hit it on the nail in your conclusion when you mentioned that every person studies differently. Throughout high school and even my first semester at Penn State I enjoy studying alone, I just feel that I focus better and can get more work done. With that said I do run into problems when I study alone often times I forget important things and they won’t be in my notes or I just have questions and it’s to late to email my teacher. That is when I think study groups are beneficial because you can always get easy help from your peers. I do agree with you when you say that you are often has strong as your weakest link, but I think that problem can be resolved by selecting your study group wisely. To improve the experiment I believe that you could find people with the same intelligence whether that be similar IQ scores or SAT scores so that the results will make more sense. This blog is a good one, and I know there isn’t a right answer because everyone is different.

  4. Alyssa Hope Cooper

    I found this blog very interesting. You did a good job showing the advantages and disadvantages for both types of studying. I am someone who can study in both environments, it depends on the subject. If it is a class where I don’t understand anything, I like to study with other people so then I can ask them questions if I am confused. However, if it is a test where I just need to review my notes, I like to study alone. An interesting experiment that could be done is have two groups, one group all the people study alone and the other group they all study together ( they are taking the same test). Then after giving them 2 days to study, give them the test and see which group scored higher. They are all taking the same test and studying in the same location so there are no confounding variables.

  5. Rebecca Danielle Schneider

    I really liked how you covered both ways of studying and weren’t just bias about the way you prefer to study, making your blog very credible. I personally usually study best by myself because I get too distracted with friends and have difficulty concentrating around them. But like you said, everyone has their own method in getting the best results. I think it would be really cool if there was a study done right here at Penn State that interviewed students of all different grades on whether they liked to study alone or in a group. From this data, we could see which is more common among us. There would definitely be confounding variables such as the amount of people that constitutes a group, the location of studying, etc.

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