Many students ask me whether they should work in groups when preparing for tests or exams. My response is yes and that there are at least 10 benefits of studying in a group if planned at the outset. Such sessions can be really useful if prepared for and done well. In groups students can share unique insights and really learn from each other.
- Very useful and add value – if time is put into the planning of the group study then it can be very beneficial. Make sure as a group you plan and establish at the outset:
- the goal/s of the session;
- what topic/s or part of the curriculum will you focus on;
- the length of time you plan to study for; and
- what time you will start and finish?
- Offers variety for students – as I regularly say to my students variety and repetition are key when it comes to learning and studying. Rather than do the same old study and revision by yourself, working in a group gives you an alternative to getting bored by doing the same things over and over.
- Helps to keep you accountable – this can be one way to actually be effective in getting work done. It can also help to get you to do the work and keep you focused & accountable when working with others.
- Eliminates procrastination – by working together you are less likely to spend time procrastinating than if you were working or studying on your own. By having set times to meet up then you need to attend and participate and are less likely to avoid attending or doing the work.
- Sharing knowledge can be powerful – by working together you can each share your knowledge on a topic/s and learn from each other. They might bring up ideas you never considered. It an be really useful to assist each student to work out what they do and don’t know and then the areas of focus for further study.
- Learn information faster – by working in a group you are more likely to learn information quicker than if you were trying to learn it alone. Just like the phrase ‘two heads are better than one”. It can also mean you can get through more content in a shorter period of time rather than working on your own.
- It can help to fill in gaps in your knowledge – listening and sharing information with each other allows you to ensure you have a greater understanding of the topic/s. You can also ask others questions when you don’t understand something. It also allows you to update and fill in any gaps in your notes.
- Helps to gain different perspectives – when you study on your own you tend to see it in one perspective only. In a group situation you will hear other perspectives and viewpoints on a topic/s and it can also help you learn it more thoroughly.
- Learn new study techniques – working with others allows you to potentially gain new ideas as to how to study and revise. It allows you to see what other techniques your fellow students use and that might be beneficial for you to adopt.
- Strengthens your knowledge and understanding of the content by teaching someone else – this is a really useful to reinforce your understanding of information and concepts.
Other tips to consider when arranging to studying in a group:
- the size of the group – in general it is best to limit the size of the group and not have it too big. My recommendation is 2-3 is a good number.
- have a plan for finishing up – agree at the outset the rough time you plan to finish. It is also important to consider and monitor the effectiveness of the session. If one or more of you start to get distracted or lose focus, then it is important you have a plan for bringing the session to an end. It might be that if any of you notice this happening you signal that you will be winding up after another 5-10 minutes.
If you would like to know more about the work I do with students to ensure they have the tools and strategies to succeed please get in touch – 0409 967 166