It’s a subject that has been debated for almost as long as there have been students: it is better to study alone or in groups? The answer is yes.
Anyone who has ever been a student probably knows the feeling of getting with others to study for an exam. Unfortunately, at least for many, these sessions often turn into time spent talking, gossiping, and joking around. For these sessions, nearly everyone leaves without accomplishing very much, if anything. So, if group study can be so distracting, are there times when it can be more effective to study alone? What do those who teach live cpa review courses advocate? Interestingly, studies have found benefits to both methods.
Are There More Benefits to Studying Alone?
When most people think of studying, they get the mental pictures of themselves alone in their bedroom or in the library with notes and a book spread out in front of them. It’s not a whole lot of fun, but it accomplishes the purpose. What follows are a few of the benefits of studying alone.
Isolating yourself in a room is a great way to minimize or eliminate distractions. This way of studying takes away the issues of other people talking to or around you or moving around in a public place. There are no distractions to disturb you.
Personal Study Area
Everyone is different, which means everyone learns in different ways. Some people like to study with classical music in the background, a warm room, and a hot cup of herbal tea handy. Someone else might require total silence, a cool room, and nothing to eat or drink. Regardless of what someone may prefer, studying alone allows them to create the perfect environment for study so they can get the most out of the time.
Studying alone also gives some students the opportunity to use study tactics that serve them best. This might include the use of flashcards and other tools, while others prefer to continuously go over chapters in a book.
The Topic to Be Learned
If a student needs to study a subject that is particularly challenging to them, it might be best to study alone. When a student does study alone, they are able to focus on the subject in a way that best fits their ideal study methods.
The Benefits of Group Study
Many people consider group study a total waste of time. Fortunately, a student who finds themselves with others who are motivated and focused might find otherwise, and they would be surprised to find how beneficial group study can be.
Did you ever wonder how many people sit down to study and end up binge-watching Netflix? By contrast, setting a time and date to gather with a study group can help everyone avoid procrastination, since everyone will be counting on others to be there and contribute.
Several studies have shown that, by studying in a group, participants retain more information. This is due to most of these students paraphrasing their notes and putting information into their own words rather than depending on a textbook. This method is like teaching others, which causes those doing the teaching to retain information better.
Gaining New Perspective and Insight
Anyone who has ever spent time grappling with a subject and trying to understand it only to have clarity click all of a sudden understands the benefit of group study. Being with other people allows students to gain insight into material that otherwise might be difficult to understand alone.
Which Method is More Effective?
The benefits of studying alone or in a group are difficult to ascertain. According to a study conducted at Washington University in St. Louis, group study is more effective.
The professor responsible for the study found that studying in groups allowed students to make lecture notes their own, which led to better retention. Students who are taking notes from a lecture are so busy making notes that they don’t really absorb the information. By contrast, in a group study environment, students absorb lecture notes and make the information their own.