In school you will hear about forming a study group. Your instructor may advocate forming a study group or one of your peers may ask you to join. The question is are study groups to your personal advantage? Your study time is a limited resource and is a study group a good use of that resource. This article will explore the pros and cons of a study group.
The advantages of joining a study group.
A study group can help keep you accountable. Many people are better at doing what they need to be doing if other people are counting on them. With a study group you know that two or three other people expect you to show up at a certain time and to be prepared.
A study group will help you test your own knowledge. Different students tend to pick up different things in lecture and in their readings. During study group a fellow student may say or ask you about a topic that you may never have considered focusing on. This may make the difference on a key question on the test.
Explaining to others is a great way to learn. As you explain the material to other students you yourself will get a better understanding of it. This process will also expose missing knowledge that you have on the topic. As you explain the topic other members may start explaining parts to you as time progresses.
A study group can create a sense of camaraderie. It may become just more fun to study. Instead of simply rereading the same notes over and over again you are quizzing each other and interacting. This will make your study session more fun and time pass more quickly.
The group can be of help when you are in need. The Study group can help you out if you need to miss a lecture as well as with an assignment you do not understand.
The disadvantageous of a study group.
The study group is just a gossip session. If the group is not focusing on classwork and just talks about current events or the latest fashion it will not help you exam scores. Whenever people gather there will be some small talk. The problem arises when the small talk expands to the detriment of the the study time. You need to be on guard for this as a whole afternoon can be wasted.
A member of the study group is unethical. It is perfectly OK – depending on the instructors guidelines – to help each other with homework or at the least explain the assignment to a fellow student. The problem arises when a fellow scholar wants to copy your work. You can feel a lot of pressure to comply.
The study group starts late and is out of your way. If you drive to a faraway location to meet and half the group is an hour late this can be a waste of your time. Not only is it disrespectful, but it accomplishes little in the way of preparing for the exam.
Members of the study group are not prepared. It is one thing to help discuss the reading and to ask and answer questions about it, but it is a completely different issue to answer questions for someone who did not do the reading. If all members are not prepared the study group will not function well.
You learn better on your own. For some students this is true. They are focused and get an ‘A’ by locking them selves in their study area and plugging away. Some students say this even though though they are failing because they do not like the idea of a study group. If you have a 4.0 by doing it on your own keep up the good work.
To decide to form or to join a study group is entirely up to you based on your needs and preferences. It is important that you join the right group and analyze if it is a productive use of your time. Not every group of students studying is the same. You may need to bounce around till you find the study group that is right for you.