A lot of students stay confused about how to approach their study strategies before an exam. Some of them always prefer to do self-study, while many of them go for group studies. Since there are some positives and negatives of both the approaches, it becomes a little tricky as to how and when to choose a particular type of study. In order to maximise our benefits from both the types while minimising the cons, we need to analyse carefully the benefits and disadvantages of self-study as well as group study.

This article will first list down the pros and cons of both the approaches and establish the conditions wherein each study type is suited. Furthermore, it will try to come up to a conclusion in terms of what is better- group study or self-study?

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Study

Group study refers to an arrangement where 2 or more than two students study together, clearing doubts and having discussions among themselves. This is a highly interactive way of grasping concepts and increasing the arena of understanding. The advantages of group study are listed below:

  • It increases your understanding of the concept as free exchange of thoughts take place.
  • All your doubts get cleared. In fact, you all can work together to find out a solution. This makes teamwork inculcate in your personality.
  • It is very beneficial for introvert students who hesitate to ask doubts and questions in class.
  • The possibility of you skipping a topic or a concept by mistake is reduced drastically, as someone or the other will point it out. 
  • New perspectives come out of the discussions on the same text. This increases your horizon of thinking. Extremely helpful for social sciences.
  • It is a very fun way of learning things. You don’t get bored.

However, every coin has two sides. There are some realist disadvantages of group studies too.

  • Studies never happen. Usually when you sit with your classmates or friends, it ends up in gossiping and fun.
  • The average time period to study a particular topic increases.
  • Inferiority complex may follow if your mate is doing better than you. This may result in under-confidence.
  • Similarly, if your mate is performing at a level below you, you may gain unnecessary over-confidence and you will not try to upgrade your knowledge.
  • The quality of the group matters. If the peer quality is not good you may only waste your time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Study

You may have heard many of the toppers claiming that they preferred self study over group study. No doubt, self study is more peaceful and effective as compared to group study. Some of the advantages of self study are listed below:

  • It allows you to focus constantly for longer period of time. This is less likely in a group study.
  • You get time and platform to analyse things yourself and find out the solutions.
  • The distractions get minimised.
  • You can also clear your doubts using the internet nowadays.
  • There is no comparison between mates. You try to become the best that you can.
  • It is more effective in terms of learning and grasping.
  • It reduces the time of study.

Some of the associated disadvantages are:

  • You don’t get to interact.
  • There is a chance of missing any topic/concept.
  • It seems comparatively boring.

What must students prefer?

Having looked upon the advantages of both self study and group study, it is conspicuous that the advantages associated with both of them are beneficial for students in some way. Although the student must consider his/her comfort and effectiveness while choosing a study style, as it is a personal concept, it is advised that you combine the benefits of both.

  • While you are studying and understanding a concept for the first time, do self-study. This ensures that you put in your efforts effectively.
  • Use group study less frequently then self study, only to enhance your understanding or to develop wider perspectives. You can fix one day in a week or so for group studies to discuss doubts and important topics.
  • Also, if you feel that your study group is not so productive, that you gain nothing from it, it is suggested that you focus on self-study only.

Since the effective outcome of your studies is ensured largely by self-studies, and the fact that self-study minimises the chances of distraction, your primary study strategy should be to study by yourself. However, it is also advised that you frequently discuss the topics and concepts with your friends to clear doubts, check on where you stand and develop wide understanding.

All the best!

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