Two heads are better than one. Five or six are even better. By working as a group, students can solve problem sets, prepare for class, and study for exams more efficiently than working alone. This strategy is especially effective and satisfying for students who enjoy group discussions and want to learn from others.
Working in a group doesn't take you off the hook. Start working the problems first before meeting with the group. Make sure you understand how and why your study partners got the solutions they did. Copying answers might seem like a quick fix for late-night studying, but it will not serve you well on the test--and could have worse consequences.
Benefits of Study Groups
- A study group can be a support group to help pick you up if your motivation is slipping.
- You may be reluctant to ask questions in lecture or recitation, but find it easier to do so in a small group.
- You may be more committed to study because group members are depending on you.
- Teaching someone else is a great way to learn and to discover what you don't know.
- A group may expose you to ideas you had not considered.
- You can learn new study habits from other students.
Forming and Running Study Groups
Study groups may be informal or formal. There are distinct differences in their characteristics and the way they run. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. See Organizing Study Groups for a comparison.