Weighing the Benefits and Disadvantages of Group Studying

Studying with a group always sounds like a great idea, until it actually happens. Beforehand, you imagine yourself and a group of buddies coming together, maybe eating a few snacks and then miraculously knowing all the material by the time you guys are done with your session. This idea always sounds reasonable, but never really goes according to plan.

Sometimes, studying with other people can be a disadvantage. Not everyone has the same exact agenda, even when together for the same general reason. Not only that, but when you study with a group, it’s sometimes with people who you are friendly with, which may not always be the best environment to study in.


If a group has to study for a test, everyone may be there for the same test, but some will have to focus on certain sections more than others. If you study with a group, the section you may need to give a little extra attention to may not be the same for everyone else. With a group, you will have to work at the group’s pace rather than your own pace.


Alexiah Grant, a computer science major at DeSale University said, “I like studying with a group sometimes, but most of the time we’re there for studying, but it turns out to be something other than the main reason why we’re there.”


This is the case for many. When a group of friends gets together, it’s hard to just study. Someone can bring up one small event that happened that day and the next thing you know, you’re completely off subject. Or if the group takes a break, they all get distracted and then you realize that quick break turned into a few hours.


It may not be the whole group in all cases, though. There always seems to be that one person that has the ability to distract everyone.


In an article by Annie Taylor from Demand Media, she says, “A study group only works if everyone does their part. The group sessions are only as strong as their weakest link. This means that, if one student is weak, his presence can be detrimental for everyone else.”


Group work requires participation and contribution from all members of the group. Those who don’t help only slow the group down. If some members don’t feel like studying at the time, time is wasted and the group’s study session is ineffective.


Alternative solutions to studying with a group of people can simply be studying alone or with just with one other person.


Studying alone is always effective. Alone time gives you a chance to really focus without distractions. It also provides the chance for a person to work at their own pace, allowing them to focus in on the sections they may be having a problem with.


If you’re not a person that likes to study alone, try studying with just one other friend. Finding a person that you may not be the best of friends with is probably the best option. A person like that is most likely going to be very focused on studying and the simple friendship will allow for you guys to stay on topic. This person will also be there to answer questions you may not understand on your own.


These alternatives provide for good study environments and habits without the hassle of a whole group.