Friends with (Study) Benefits
When it comes to studying, there are two schools of thought: those who think you should study alone and those who think studying in groups is actually more helpful.
We’ll admit that there are a few cases where studying alone just makes more sense. Let’s say you need to focus on something that’s memorization heavy or you’re working on a project that’s truly an individual activity, like writing a paper. In cases like those, it’s hard to argue against working alone.
But many times, those who work by themselves don’t necessarily get the most out of studying. In our experience, we’ve found that having a few friends with benefits- study benefits that is- can actually be more beneficial in most cases. Those who work in groups are more likely to have the ability to think critically about the material they’re focusing on and achieve higher level learning.
Here are our biggest reasons we’ve found for why having a few friends with (study) benefits on hand can help you achieve success.
Because You Need Motivation
Let’s face it. Hunkering down to study isn’t usually the easiest or more exciting thing to do. In fact, if you’re anything like us, you’re an expert at finding endless ways of procrastinating and avoiding it.
Yeah…we’ve all been there.
It’s so easy to reason with yourself and justify why it’s ok that you haven’t started studying for that Chem final that’s tomorrow just yet. Not so easy to do when you have a group of classmates who are depending on you.
Most study groups set specific dates and times to meet as well as an outline of material they’re going to focus on during each meeting. This helps to increase accountability of all group members and helps make sure that you’re actually working.
Because You’ll Understand More
We all get stuck and find things we just can’t figure out on our own…no matter how hard we try. Working in study groups allows you to lean on other students who sometimes have a better grasp on certain topics than you do to help you gain a better understanding.
Group studies are the perfect place to ask questions and have information explained in detail. And often, peers are able to find ways of explaining things to us in a way we actually understand. Also, students often gain an even better understanding of material when they’re responsible for teaching it or explaining it to someone else.
Even better, group study meetings give you an opportunity to improve your notes. Come on, admit it. There’s been a couple of times (maybe more than a couple) where you’ve been distracted by your phone, another classmate, or just the general purpose of life – really anything that isn’t related to the actual class itself – and you’ve completely missed something. We’re guilty of this too.
Chances are someone in your study group probably caught the information you missed and can fill in the holes for you.
Because You’ll Be Less Stressed
Exam anxiety is a really common problem for college students, and can easily turn that A you should have earned into a C…or even worse.
Creating a group of study buddies who you can rely on and who can help you motivate yourself to get the work done helps you to feel more confident on the big day and minimize the damaging effects of test stress.
Not to mention you won’t be depending on just yourself to learn everything and get all of the work done. Working in groups allows you to divide up the work with others and learn more faster. And who doesn’t want to work faster?
Dividing up the work like that makes studying a little less cumbersome…and definitely less stressful.
How to Group Study the Right Way
Though we definitely think studying in groups can make studying a little less painful (not to mention way more fun!), there are some basic guidelines you should follow to make it as beneficial as possible:
- Divide up the work and have each team member focusing on a certain section.
- Always come prepared. Every group member should have any pre-work knocked out beforehand and be ready to explain their part to the group.
- Set a certain time and place to meet for all meetings beforehand. Different groups work best at different times and in different places. Find out the best scenario for your group to be the most productive.
- Set meeting times to last between 2-3 hours. Less than this, and it’s not likely you’ll get everything done that you need to. More than this, and you’ll probably be more tired and distracted and less productive.
- Choose the right people. Look for teammates who are interested in learning and getting the most out of a class…not those who are just looking to skate by.
- Choose the right number of people. The rule of thumb is to create a group of 4-6 people. More than this can make organization a drag.