The Tuesday Q&A: Studying Alone Vs. Study Groups

MBA FAQ, MBA frequently asked questions, bschool questions, mba questions

Question:

Is it better to study by myself, or to study with other people?

Answer:

This is a really good question, and one that PLENTY of people have answered before. What did they say? Well, a lot of people will tell you that studying alone and group studying both have their advantages and disadvantages and that it all depends on how you work best. But, the truth is that group studying has WAY more to offer you, if you do it right.

First of all… it’s a group. That means there’s a higher chance that SOMEBODY in the group gets the hard stuff from class. Maybe you’re having trouble with the latest chapter in Chemistry, but your study partners have it down and can help you nail it. Spreading the knowledge base means you’ll get more out of your studying sessions, possibly even more than you get out of your time in the classroom.

Second, studying alone can get boring. Doesn’t matter if it’s your favorite subject. Doesn’t matter that you listen to your favorite Bob Marley albums while you study. There’s only so much you can do while studying alone before your attention starts to drop off. That’s where it helps to have a few friends around to keep you awake. Keep you focused. Keep you productive.

Third, and this one’s actually a BIG one… you make friends. This is important to the whole college experience and can be especially hard if you’re an international student and unfamiliar with the entire culture. After a study session, go out for pizza. Plan a bowling night for the weekend. Just remember, when you’re all supposed to be studying, study. If you can’t keep on track as a study group, none of you are going to benefit from the experience.

Study groups are a great way to keep yourself social, but they actually helps you out professionally, too. Many of the skills you’ll need after college (networking, team building, project management) get crazy workouts when you form and work in a study group. So, can you study effectively on your own? Sure you can, and sometimes that’s fine. But you’ve got LOTS to gain from having some study buddies.

— Jon Frank

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