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Study Groups—Helpful or Harmful? 

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Whether or not you study best in groups or by yourself really depends on you and your study habits. Some people work well by themselves, in a quiet room, and in hour and a half increments. But others study best in groups. Occasionally, studying in a group can help you do better in a class than you would have on your own.  

Study groups are all about working together to reach a common goal. Whether that be getting a good grade on a test or paper or a good grade in the class as a whole. Let’s talk about some potential reasons that a study group might be right for you! 

If you are having trouble staying motivated.

If you struggle with getting side tracked or just not wanting to do the work at all, then a study group might be helpful to you. Having a scheduled time to meet with a group of people will help you stay on track with your studies, and keep you from procrastinating too much. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated when you are forcing yourself to stay on track for other people. It can help hold you accountable!

If you are struggling with the class material.

If you are in a really difficult class and struggling to stay afloat, it is almost a guarantee that other students in the class are in the same position. Find that group of people that are looking for help too, and maybe you can help each other. Being able to discuss the material out loud with other people is going to help you, and the other members of your group, understand the material better and more quickly. People benefit from discussing hard-to-understand concepts with classmates, and it makes studying go by a lot faster!

If you need a change of scenery.

If you are getting bored with the monotony of studying in a lonely room, maybe you need a change of scenery. Getting out of your dorm room or that dark corner of the library into a group setting will help you refocus yourself on the course work. You’d be surprised what a change of scenery can do to your outlook on the course material. Even if you do enjoy studying by yourself, you may also benefit from stepping out of your bubble to collaborate with friends before test time!

If you need a support system.

If you are feeling alone and discouraged by your grades in a class, then having a study group to help motivate and encourage you will help you out of that negative mindset. It’s easy to get bogged down in a class and start to feel alone in your struggles, but it always helps to know when your peers are having the same struggles. 

If you are wanting to learn new study skills. 

Study skills are important to have but hard to come by. Forming a study group could expose you to other people’s study methods that you could then adopt for yourself. If you are struggling to study productively, then this could help you out a lot. I’ve stuck to the same study methods for years, and with certain classes those methods just won’t cut it. Study groups can help you learn new, better ways to study! 

Study groups are not only important for education but they can also prepare you for working in an office setting. Learning how to work well in a group is going to be a valuable skill to you for the rest of your life. They can help you improve your grades and make friends. There’s nothing like the bond that connects a group of people who are taking the same hard class! 

Maggie is an editorial intern at Potential magazine and a senior English major at Birmingham Southern College. She enjoys reading and writing articles and blogs and is excited to share some of her college experiences with Potential readers.

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