Group Study – Help or Hindrance?

With the examinations approaching, the pressure mounts on every to perform well.  A lot of students tend to gravitate towards study groups, in the hope of encouragement, notes, or better inputs.  These study groups could be formal or informal.  The most common way is for a group of friends to get together and study for common subjects.  While this method of study is useful at times, it can prove to be either a bane or a boon, depending on how you handle it.  Let’s take a more detailed look at the pros and cons of this study method.

The Pros

  1. Access to revision notes and study material: When a number of students get together, they also bring their resources together.  For example, there may be group members with friends in other schools, who bring revision notes and study material you would not normally be able to benefit from
  2. Best study methods: You may be able to understand a topic better by changing your study method.  While this may not occur to you directly, observing the study methods of your group members can be a definite plus
  3. Ask Questions and Answers: It often happens that you get stuck when studying a topic.  If you are alone, it can become a frustrating experience.  Additionally, it leads to a lot of wastage of time.  If you are in a group, it is very possible that a group member offers you a solution, or asks another friend or contact to provide you with an instant solution.
  4. Encouragement: The prospect of facing an examination can be a daunting one.  It becomes even more difficult to concentrate as the date of the examination approaches, and for those who are not thoroughly prepared, the night before an examination can be a nightmare!  In situations like this, a friend who is willing to stay up with you, explain topics in brief so that you understand faster, point out important questions, and even scold you when necessary becomes a godsend!


The Cons

  1. Distractions in a non-serious group: If the group you choose is not as serious about studies as you are, associating with such students may prove to be a hindrance to your progress.  It does happen that students get together more for merry-making than for studies.  Additional distractions such as relationships and time wastage could also prove to be obstacles to you in a non-serious group.
  2. Sharing of notes: When you take notes from someone, it is taken for granted that you will share your notes too.  This gives an advantage to other students in competing for the top spot.
  3. Leeches: A lot of students join study groups only to get notes of good students without having to work hard themselves.  It may also be expected of you that you spend time in explaining topics to less hard-working students.  If this is done beyond a point, it can result in a lot of time wastage and tension.  Also, some students have the tendency of taking others’ notes and not returning them on time.  If this happens with you, it could be a source of unnecessary tension and distraction from your studies.


Tips for making full use of a study group

  1. Be very focused: Always be very clear as to the reason why you have joined a study group. A simple way of testing yourself is to judge how much time is spent in quality, progressive conversation, and how much time is spent in personal and general talk.  Remember, time is your most valuable asset.  Use it wisely.
  2. Be prepared to say ‘no’: Leeches in a group tend to take your goodness for granted.  While it is good to be generous, your first responsibility lies with your own career and parents.  When you find that you are having to compromise with your loyalties, you must have the courage to stand up and say ‘no’.
  3. Always contribute: You will be in a position to associate with the best in the group only when you are a constant contributor. Most people only help those whom they respect.  You will have to win your respect and position in the group by showing that you are serious, and are willing to contribute to everyone’s success.
  4. Never be jealous: Remember, your hard work will definitely pay off. There are enough opportunities in the world for everyone.  Hence, you must make it a point to be happy in everyone’s success; else people find you selfish and will not like to associate with you.  There is a fine dividing line between being true to your own career and helping others.  You will have to find that balance yourself.

About Author:  Aditya Singhal, co-founder of, India’s leading online education company is a B.Tech graduate from IIT Delhi. He is passionate about amalgamation of technology with education, especially when it can be utilized for social improvement.

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