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Which is better? Group studying or Solo learning? - Life skills

Group Study Or Solo Learning?

A popular question among students - “is it better to study alone or with a group?”. Group study is often referred to as ‘social learning’ and is increasingly popular due to the current fashion for encouraging a teamwork-focused structure. Group study sessions can be a great way to exchange ideas and can be a really good motivator. There is always someone within the group who has more knowledge on a topic and groups can often motivate each other merely by the urge to ‘beat’ each other’s knowledge.

It can be very tempting to just focus on social learning but it is equally important to not neglect individual study time too. During individual or solo study we tend to focus on our personal weaknesses within our knowledge. It is said that to master a topic we must centre our attention on the most demanding parts of the subject and that this is best done alone.

Group studying is no replacement for solo studying. Few people have exactly the same weaknesses within their knowledge as each other and group study may not concentrate sufficiently on your own specific problem area. During individual study, you can generally teach yourself to internalise important information by using flashcards which stimulate the brain through spaced repetition. Group studying can be deemed distracting for some learners. For some, it can feel like you are learning significantly more in a group, yet for others, it can lack privacy and focus. When we study alone, we can easily see when we go off topic or when we start to daydream. Group studying can feel like productive work but you can easily go ‘off topic’ and find yourself chatting about completely unconnected topics.

Although there are many group study benefits, research has shown that studying in groups can hamper efficiency and creativity. Another plus point to individual/solo studying is that we can work at our own personal pace; only moving own to further topics once we feel comfortable. In a group, we can feel that some take over and so we sit back and watch others do the work! Group work can cause some people to succumb to peer pressure and we can find ourselves just agreeing with the majority as we don’t wish to highlight that we do not understand fully.

The key to this question is to find a balance. Find a way to benefit from the motivation of group study but also prioritise solo study in order to maximise the opportunities to tackle the topics you need to brush up on.

MidKent offer a several opportunities to work as a group, but also shine as an individual. Find out more about our career-building courses.

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