When it comes to studying for a major exam, I prefer to study by myself in fear that if I studied in a group setting I would become distracted and branch off into a conversation that would not be related too the material on the exam. While this is my preferred way of studying, many of my friends express the effectiveness of studying in a group setting and how it expands their understanding of the information because you can discuss the information with classmates.
Pro’s for Studying in Groups: A problem that many students face is procrastination. Living away from home and being in college, you have so much time on your hands and it is up to you on what you do with it. I know many students have procrastinated until the last minute before an exam and being in a study group just might be the answer to your solution. Studying in a group requires responsibility and you have to meet up at a specific time to study for a specific amount of hours. Also, while working with other students and studying the same material gives you the opportunity to ask questions if you become confused on a certain segment of the textbook. You can also learn from others and pick up your peers study techniques that work for them.
Pro’s for Studying Alone: A problem that many students face when it comes to study groups is distraction. Meeting up with your friends to study can quickly go from studying Economics and trying to understand the Law of Demand, to a discussion about fantasy football rankings. Studying solo allows you to minimize distractions around you. You can focus on the information that you need more practice on, instead of reviewing material you might already know but have to clarify for a friend who doesn’t. Lastly, you can go at your own pace and take breaks when you desire.
Both study styles have advantageous and disadvantages and each individual student has their own way of studying that works to their advantage. If you study in a group it is important to find the right group members that can challenge you and further your knowledge of the material. If you are studying alone, staying on task and not procrastinating is the most important tip to keep in mind.
One way of determining which study style is most effective is running an observational study with a response variable. How you could do this would be to take a group of students in the same class, with the same knowledge of the material and give them the same study guide and then split them up into two groups; students that study alone vs students that study in groups. Give each group the same amount of time to study for an exam and compare the average grade of the two groups after they take the exam.