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Exam preparation: Group study or self study?

Human beings are designed to work closely with one another. We are called social animals for a reason, and we have emerged today as the leading species on this planet solely through our ability to coordinate with each other and help each other accomplish things that no single person could do alone. So why not practice the same when it comes to exam preparation, or in general, studying?
Studying in groups is a great way to keep yourself motivated, find a quick resolution for any doubts you face, and have some occasional fun that keep you entertained. A group of people studying the same topic, working towards the same goal, are ideal companions. Invite a few school friends to form a group, and you will find your performance improving.

Reap the benefits of working together

There is a reason large projects are assigned to teams instead of individuals. A group of people balances each other’s weaknesses and complement the strengths. This holds true for study groups as well. You are no doubt quite skilled at some subjects, while a few subjects leave you struggling. Pair up with the right partners and you can help each other. They can help you understand physics problems whenever you get stuck, and conversely, you can help them out with programming techniques for tricky questions.
Practicing problems is one of the simplest ways to prepare for exams as it gives you a practical way to apply the many things you learned in school. With a group, all of you can solve practice papers, study the papers used in previous years, and work on problems that are often posed in the examination.

Start working smarter for better results

Victory favours the prepared. Understand that studying everything that is part of the course is a good practice, but it is only common sense that you pay special attention to the topics that are repeated regularly in the examinations. Similarly, while it is possible to ask your teacher questions that you have, the smarter thing would be to ensure that you keep other options open as well. A teacher may not be available outside school hours, but your friends will be. Work closely with them and you will find yourself improving faster than before.

Compete but don’t fight

Competition is a huge motivator. No doubt your friends want to do well in exams. That is your aim as well. However, this competitive spirit should not become a hindrance. Just because you are competing, you need not push each other down. Over the course of two years, you no doubt are aware of people who get ultra-competitive. Make sure that you do not study with these students. Their suggestions can end up causing you harm, and they are unlikely to guide you properly in any manner. This is the reason you need to study with the people that you know and trust. Share your notes, discuss preparation strategies, and create time tables. In short, do anything that you can to facilitate the process of group study. Make sure that others do the same. Remember, the key to success here is equal contribution from all members. Everyone, including you, should profit from the arrangement.

With the board exams already upon us, it is time to show what you have achieved in the last two years. Make sure that you utilise all the hours that you have available throughout the day. If it is not possible to study with your friends every day, then keep a session at least twice a week. Simply catching up and discussing problems will go a long way in helping you score better.

Many students actually stay confused about whether group study is more effective or self-study for exam preparation. Find out here.

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