Are More Heads Better than One?

The way a student studies and does course work changes when they begin college or university. Group study becomes more common but is it more effective than self-study?

Photo: Unsplash

Everyone has their preferred way of working, studying or preparing a project. While some learn better in a group, others retain knowledge more efficiently when they study solo. Group study can be a casual gathering of students focused on exchanging ideas and collaborating to finish a project; or it can be more serious and used as a way of improving academic performance before an exam or presentation. Individual or self-study is when a student works independently and only interact when they’re unsure or have a question. Whatever method is chosen is dependent on an individual’s character, timing, social skills and workload. 

Study group

Motivates students to study – working with peers and figuring out problems together makes studying easier and keeps students on their toes. It also encourages healthy competition. 

Helps clear doubts – sometimes a student needs reassurance from friends and help with understanding a concept in a more relaxed environment. 

No procrastinating – meeting with friends to study means committing to a time, place and task at hand so there’s no room for dawdling! 

Learning new ways of revising – being exposed to other students’ methods of studying can be a good influence and learning experience.

No more boredom and feeling lonely – after a while solo study can become boring and attention spans suffer so being with others eases this. 

Individual study 
Less distraction – allows a student to completely focus on the subject at hand with no disturbance from others. 

Choice of study environment – working alone means being able to choose where, from a library to the comfort of your living room. 

Control over study schedule – everyone has their own ideal time to work so if you burn the midnight oil or prefer working when the sun rises, solo study is easier. 

Photo: Unsplash

Study group

Too much talking and distractions – it’s very easy to start veering away from serious subjects and start chatting and socialising. 

Different levels of understanding within the group – new students in the group might not be able to follow the discussion if they’re not on the same level of comprehension. 

Meetings get rescheduled – if there are lots of people in the group, timings need to be planned around everyone’s schedule resulting in wasted time. 

Individual study
Less motivation – solo learners can get less motivated faster. 

Easier to procrastinate – having the choice of a flexible schedule can lead to putting off studying and dealing with projects too close to deadline. 

Difficulty in the understanding – studying alone means a student has to be confident in their understanding of the subject as there’s no one to ask or have a discussion with. 

Tags: Features, University
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