Academic success often narrows down to how effectively you can use various study tactics in your arsenal. Whether to settle for self-study or group study is common among various conflicts students face.
This article will weigh the pros and cons of studying alone and group study, helping you determine your best study approach. We will also offer some tools to guide you on the best method to infuse self-study and group learning for the best results.
Self-study is the approach to revision, assignments, and searching for information by oneself. This is as opposed to engaging peers or joining a study group.
Benefits of self-study
Studying alone is a common undertaking for students. This approach offers multiple benefits for learners as it makes it easier to refine your study approaches to attain better scores. Some of the popular benefits of studying alone include:
- When studying alone, you can determine your ideal study time, ensuring maximum productivity from your study sessions.
- Self-study presents fewer distractions as you can control various variables, promoting focus over long durations of study.
- Studying by yourself allows you to employ customized learning styles that suit your interests. This allows you to boost comprehension and promotes better recall of studied material.
- In self-study, you do not have negative competition as you gauge your achievement by the attainment of set goals. This allows you to adopt a good study pace and to appreciate your improvement, boosting your confidence over time.
- When studying alone, you can dictate your pace of study based on your strengths in a subject. This allows you to ensure understanding and set priorities that are in line with your strengths and weaknesses.
Drawbacks of self-study
- Self-study may get boring as it limits your methods of study to the materials you managed to secure. This is as opposed to a group study where each member contributes, reducing the boredom of a quiet room.
- Studying alone may also promote a narrow understanding of ideas as you are limited to the materials you could secure by your means.
Study group definition
A study group is a group of learners that meet regularly to analyze various subjects and handle class assignments.
Benefits of group learning
Like all projects, there is power in teamwork when it comes to education. Some notable study group benefits include:
- Discussions offer a variety of notes to compare, highlighting various errors in your notes.
- When discussing, each member may pose a unique question that you could have easily glossed over during self-study. These questions allow you to test your comprehension, allowing you a broader analysis of the concepts in various topics.
- Group study helps overcome personal biases, ensuring that you cover topics that you would have branded as ‘not worth your time’ when studying alone.
- Group learning inspires a sense of competition, boosting you to do more to rank higher in test scores among your group mates.
- Studying in groups also allows you to develop communication and teaching skills as you engage your peers in discussions. This may come in handy in writing assignments and responding to test questions in your paper.
- Group study also exposes you to new study skills that your peers have honed over time. For instance, you may learn how to form and use mnemonics, a skill that you can parlay into other topics, ensuring success in your academic journey.
Drawbacks of studying with groups
- Group study may inspire negative comparisons promoting overconfidence or low confidence. This often comes with forming groups with peers that are more/less skilled and can lead to self-loathing or self-aggrandizement, impairing your ability to study.
- Groups also present varying study paces, causing you to quickly gloss over ideas that challenge you or to dwell on ideas you find simple.
- You may become dependent on group work, limiting your capacity to take on academic challenges by yourself.
Studying alone vs studying group
Having considered the group learning benefits and disadvantages you might be wondering: How do I select a study approach that best suits me? The key to success is in learning the scenarios where best to employ self-study and group study. Some of our recommendations for this include:
- Gauge your best learning approaches to various subjects and identify the concepts that you are struggling to wrap your head about. Plan for group study to tackle these challenging concepts, with the help of peers, thus identifying your weaknesses and improving upon your study methods.
- Identify your best study time and set it aside for self-study to boost the comprehension of concepts you’ve encountered in a day.
- Always diversify your groups to avoid feeling over/underconfidence in group discussions.