The benefits of study groups
As part of your revision schedule you may wish to include periods of time where you study with others.
What are the benefits of studying in a group?
There are several benefits to studying with others.
Studying with, or in the presence of others, is usually more interesting and fun than studying alone.
Can improve understanding
- Friends can help you understand concepts or ideas if you get stuck
- Friends can often explain things in a more relatable way than your teacher
- Talking through topics with your friends may help you to identify gaps in your understanding or misconceptions
Can improve memory recall
Working in groups may help you to remember information more easily. This is because some people recall what they have heard easier than what they have read.
Can test each other
The importance of actively checking and testing your knowledge and understanding has been mentioned on this website many times.
Working with other people makes the process of testing easier and more fun to do.
Answers can be challenged and follow-up questions asked.
Although it’s not a good idea to offload the production of your revision materials to other people, there are still efficiencies to be made when studying with others.
One example might be when you need to find appropriate past paper questions for the topics you have in common.
Working with others can have a positive affect on your motivation and add a bit more energy to your schedule.
Who should I study with?
Study groups of around 3 to 5 people work really well.
When deciding who to study with there are some factors to consider.
You should aim to study with a group of people who are broadly of the same ability as yourself.
Coaching others is a valid revision technique, however you don’t want to spend hours of your revision time just helping others.
Equally though, it would be beneficial to have a genius to get help from when you need it!
You need to study with people who share the same positive attitude and a desire to succeed.
Surround yourself with study friends who are going to turn up prepared and ready to work.
Needing help is fine, but needy people who contribute very little should be avoided.
Make sure the people in your study group are flexible and are usually available when you are.
What are the drawbacks of group study?
There are some drawbacks to watch out for when studying in a group.
Studying with others can easily lead to procrastination.
Make sure you use your time efficiently, avoiding tasks that aren’t adding value to your studies.
Add breaks to your schedule and use these for the socialising. Make the actual revision time count.
It might be difficult to get your study partners in the same place at the same time.
Someone might be late, others might let you down.
You may end up studying at a time that you had set aside for something else.
You might not agree on where to meet.
Negative and lazy people
Choose the people who you want to study with very carefully.
Only study with people who have a positive ‘can do’ attitude.
You need to avoid negativity as this could lead to anxiety about the exam.