Are study groups for me?
If you had asked first-year me, she would’ve said no.
Not purely for Covid reasons but also because she felt like she studied better when she was alone. It was not until my second year that I realised that study groups actually worked better for me but only under certain circumstances.
With exams right around the corner, you might be asking yourself the same question too. So I thought I would lay out some pros and cons of group study.
My favourite thing about study groups is that I will have someone to hold me accountable and pull me out of a rut whenever I start to feel a little too lazy to study. I’m quite certain that if I didn’t start studying with a friend, I wouldn’t have reviewed my study materials as often as I do today. So, finding a study partner who is also motivated to study is very important, otherwise both of you might just end up doing nothing.
Speaking of which, studying with a friend always makes the whole ordeal much more bearable and a lot less boring. I read somewhere that when you’re having more fun doing something, you are less likely to procrastinate doing it – and I believe that’s true when it comes to studying. When I’m studying with someone else, we get to have some conversations going in between typing out notes or when we’re taking a break, so I’m not always met with radio silence. It’s just the perfect dose of distraction – distracting enough to not put me to bed but not too distracting to pull me away from focusing on my work.
Because of this, I find that it’s better to work in small groups. Back in high school, I would study with my whole group of friends, and everybody would get distracted by each other so easily (I admit, sometimes I’m the one who does the distracting). I have since learned my lesson, so I only study with one of my friends now. It’s much easier to make plans and coordinate your study schedules when you’re studying with fewer people and of course, it’s easier to pull ourselves back into studying when we begin to lose focus.
Study groups have also helped me understand complex legal concepts better, thanks to friends who are good at simplifying legal rules and applications – truly, it’s a life-saving skill! For I am merely a law student trying her hardest to get through law school and sometimes lecturers can be a little bit confusing.
Another thing, choose a study partner(s) whom you’re comfortable with. Someone whom you wouldn’t need to always appear collected and on top of everything too. Someone who makes you feel okay for being confused and trying your best because the last thing we need with exams right around the corner is self-doubt and imposter syndrome.
The thing with study methods is that it’s personal to everybody. Some of you might enjoy large study groups while some prefer to work in their solitude. Either way is fine so long as it makes your study experience productive and effective.