Is Group Studying More Effective?

By Brittany Loeffler on April 7, 2018

It’s a long debated topic: is group studying more effective than studying alone? We’ve all experienced getting together with classmates to study for an upcoming exam and spend the entire time gossiping, talking, or joking around. You leave the group without accomplishing anything to get you ready for your exam.

So, when people are too distracting, how is group studying more effective? Surprisingly, there are benefits to both studying alone and group studying. Read on to find out which style of studying is the most effective.

studying, group studying, studying alone

via Pixabay

The Benefits of Studying Alone

When people think of studying, they picture themselves sitting alone in their bedroom or a quiet library with a book and notes sprawled out on the desk. They’re holding their head in their hands, trying to retain the information and understand concepts. It isn’t the most fun thing to do in the world, but it’s necessary. The following are some benefits to studying alone.

Minimum Distractions

When you lock yourself away in your room, there tend to be less distractions than when you are studying in a group or a public place. Nobody is moving around or talking near you. There are literally no distractions, unless you’re one of those people who feel the need to clean everything when you study.

Personal Study Environment

Everyone is different, which means everyone learns differently. You may require classical music, a warm, toasty room, and a cup of tea while you study. Someone else may require complete silence, a chilly room, and no snacks at all. Studying alone allows you to set the perfect study environment so you get the most out of studying.

Studying alone also allows you to use the study tactics that are the most effective to your learning style. Some students learn best with flashcards while others learn best when they reread chapters. Find your learning style and cater your studying to it for the best results.

Study What You Need to Learn

There may be some topics in class that you really need to work on. When you study alone, you’re able to focus on exactly what you need to learn. It’s easy to look over the material you’re already comfortable and familiar with. The hard part of studying is learning what you don’t understand.

group studying, study group

via Pixabay

The Benefits of Group Studying

When you think of group studying, you may shrug it off because you know that you won’t get any studying done. If you’re with motivated people who are focused, then you may be surprised at just how beneficial group studying is.

Prevents Procrastination

How many times have you said you were going to sit down and study but ended up binge-watching Netflix? Probably too many to admit. When you set a date and time to get together with a study group, it prevents you from procrastinating because you know other people are counting on you to be there.

Retain More Information

When you study in a group, you tend to retain more information. This is because you paraphrase your notes and put the information in your own words rather than reading from a textbook word for word. It’s very similar to teaching the others in your group, which leads to retaining the information better.

Gain New Insight and Perspective

Have you ever had a hard time grasping a concept for days or weeks? Then, suddenly, someone states the concept in a new way and it finally clicks! This is a major benefit of group studying. Being with other people allows you to gain different insights and perspectives on topics and the material. Sometimes someone can say just one sentence or word and it will all make sense.

thumbs up, group studying more effective

via Pixabay

Is Group Studying More Effective?

After looking at the benefits or studying alone or in a group, it can be difficult to tell which is more effective. The answer, according to a study conducted by a psychology professor, R. Keith Sawyer, Ph.D. from Washington University, is yes group studying is more effective. “Study groups are so effective because they provide a way for students to make the lecture notes their own,” Sawyer says. “When students hear the voice of the professor and are taking notes, they are so busy writing that it’s hard for them to really absorb the material. What happens in the study group setting is that students could absorb lecture notes and make them their own.”

How to Form an Effective Study Group

Though group studying is more effective, there are some things students must do in order to get the most from group studying.

Limit the Number of People

It’s important to keep your study group to a limited number of people. It isn’t a party where you get to socialize. A good number of people are three to five. Any more than five can become chaotic and lead people to have side conversations.

Be Prepared

Come to your study group prepared with notes, questions, and topics to look over. Nobody likes wasting time and waiting for you to get yourself together.

Set a Place, Time, and Agenda

Take studying seriously. Pick a place, date, and time for when your group will get together and study. It’s also important to have an agenda. What will you be studying for and how long? This will help keep you focused and on topic.

Improve Your Grades

So, the debate has been settled. Group studying is more effective than studying alone. However, it all depends on the person because everyone is different. You’ll retain information better thanks to paraphrasing and gain new perspective and insight. You may also come out with some great friends! Next time you have an exam, consider group studying.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format