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Group or Solo Studying? How to Tell Which Study Method is Best for You

If you’ve got an upcoming quiz, exam, midterm, or final, you may be feeling like it is time to sit down and do some studying. While studying is essential for being a successful student at any education level, considering whether to study alone or in a group is a question you should ponder.

While both have benefits and downfalls, finding the study method that suits your particular needs is very important. After all, time may not always be on your side, so you want to make sure to maximize every one of those crucial minutes of studying.

Studying alone
For some students, having time to shut out all distractions in order to study is beneficial — but others may find they simply cannot retain all of the valuable information they should be. Here are some pros of studying alone:

Arguably the biggest benefit to studying alone is that you are able to move at a pace that is helpful for just you and how you learn. If you need extra time to review flashcards or skim a section in your textbook, you most certainly can do that. Prioritizing topics you know less about is easy to do when studying alone.

If peace and quiet are necessities for your study routine, studying in a serene place by yourself can provide you with just that. There is no need to spark up conversations or discuss topics with others — just simply put your headphones in and hit the books.

Studying alone is simple. Whenever your schedule allows for a cram session, you can fit one in — no need to rely on others, here. Plus, you can pick up those class notes and give them a read literally anywhere. Heading to the gym? Bring the audio recording of your class lectures. Long bus ride? Flip through those vocabulary notecards one last time. Studying alone is easy because it fully revolves around you.

Studying in groups
Studying with a group can be largely beneficial for many students, especially those who may be lacking an understanding of the coursework or for those who find value in having discussions about the topics on an upcoming exam. However, some students may find they simply cannot concentrate in a group setting. The following are benefits of studying in groups:

Group study sessions are the perfect opportunity to discuss all of the potential topics on the upcoming test and have each group member contribute his or her insight on such topics. Each individual may have a different interpretation of the course materials and it can be exponentially valuable for other students to hear and learn from varying perspectives. For classes that are opinion-based or theory-heavy, hearing other opinions can help broaden your thoughts and expose you to a different way of thinking.

Fill in gaps
Let’s face it — school can be challenging at times. It may be tough to fully comprehend every single topic that your teacher wants to you master. Studying in groups allows students to put their brains together and fill in those knowledge gaps. Putting your notes and level of understanding together can be valuable for all.

Staying focused
While group sessions can go awry, you may also find that you can count on these group study sessions to fit in some solid studying time (no excuses allowed!). What better way to get motivated than to be surrounded by a group of people who are in similar shoes as you? Remember to let being surrounded by others work in your favor, not soak up your valuable time.

Studying in groups and studying alone both have benefits, but be sure to always keep your needs in mind. You know yourself best, so make sure to choose the option that allows you to study hard and study well.
Jenny Modlisz is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.