Studying Alone vs. Group Study: Which is Better?

This is a guest post written by Thomas Edison State College

Every student has their own studying preferences and priorities; some prefer to immerse themselves in a certain environment, while others study best at certain times of the day. Creating a stress-free study environment is one way to improve your grades. Even so, there is still the question of who to study with: should you study alone or in a group study session? And how much of an impact will this have on your results?

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One option isn’t necessarily better than the other. But one might be better for you. Maybe you prefer to study alone but retain more information if you’re part of a study group. Or maybe you enjoy the group dynamic but learn better in a quiet setting. No matter your learning style or preference, here are things to consider when deciding between studying alone or with a group of peers.

Studying alone…

studying alone, DSST exam

Minimizes distraction

You may find it hard to stay on track when your group gets together. The conversation shifts from course material to current events, maximizing distractions as the clock ticks away. Studying alone allows you to concentrate and minimize the disruptions that can keep you from retaining the material. It’s easier to avoid temptations when you work alone, meaning fewer interruptions.

Allows you to pace yourself

The ability to study in solitude allows you to give your complete and undivided attention to the study materials. You can work at your own pace, reading and rereading concepts and problems at a suitable speed for you. Give more and more focus to the information you’re struggling with, and you’ll be able to tackle your exam with confidence.

Improves focus

Sometimes study partners are not as knowledgeable as you are. Sometimes they want to spend hours studying a topic that you already know like the back of your hand. When you study on your own, you’re able to completely focus on the material you choose, and spend less time on material you’ve already mastered. That means you can spend your already limited time more wisely.

Group Study…

Group study session, DSST exam

Increases retention

Verbalizing concepts and explaining material to others helps to reinforce ideas and improves your knowledge retention. The more you repeat the text, the stronger your memory will become. Group study offers the opportunity to hear information from others, too, which can serve you well should you have a large amount of material to cover.

Expands access to information

Group study allows for varied views, insights and information to be shared in one place. That sharing creates an open discussion and enhances your thinking skills. Students who study together tend to share notes and other class materials, building and broadening your understanding of the subject. This wealth of knowledge can mean you have more time to focus on key concepts, and spend less time stuck on one idea that has you hung up.

Boosts motivation

Group study time is a great opportunity for effective review. Create mock tests, quiz one another, and assist those who may be struggling with course material. Having a team that depends on you can increase your motivation and improve your focus because you’ll feel obliged to help everyone succeed.

Which do you prefer – solo or group study – and why? Tell us in the comments!

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About Thomas Edison State College

Thomas Edison State College provides flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults. One of New Jersey’s 11 senior public institutions of higher education, the College offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 100 areas of study that can be customized to meet their individual needs. The College is a national leader in the assessment of adult learning and a pioneer in the use of educational technologies. Learn more at www.tesc.edu.

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