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At the onset of every exam season, most of us seem to wonder whether we should opt for group study or self study. Many times, we get influenced by others’ opinions and preferences during the decision-making process. However, often it’s not always a one-size-fits-all kind of policy. An apt choice would be made while taking into consideration your attitude, competence, and resources available. In this article, we take a look at some factors to take into consideration while making the choice – group study or self study?

Group Study or Self Study?

In the Indian middle-class society, we are conditioned to self-study from early childhood. Group study, as a possibility, only opens up much later. Children in kindergarten learn from their parents and teachers. Friends are thought merely as companions in play. This is the cause of the doubt over group study or self-study arising in our minds. Somewhere, we often think – “Is group study possible? Will it even be effective?”

Let me take the liberty of sharing my personal experience with you.

I was in the second grade when I shifted abroad. It may seem like a young age, but it is the time when a child’s mind already has doubtless impressions about many things. I too had my share. I remember my teacher raising her voice to say, “Pin-drop silence,” whenever she heard any kid whisper while she was writing on the blackboard.

Everything changed when I moved back to India and a new school. ‘Pin-drop silence’ was no longer the mantra. In fact, talking and discussing during class hours was encouraged. If any child sat quietly, the teacher asked him/her to join some group.

I didn’t understand it then, but I understood it clearly while putting my thoughts into words in this article. That moment in the new school was my entry into the world of group study.

(Disclaimer: I do not mean to compare education systems; this is only to illustrate the need for an early introduction to group study.)

It is not about which of the two options – group study or self-study – is more beneficial. It is about deciding what suits you the best.

Given below are a few pointers to help you decide between group study or self-study.

(1) Time Management: It is about what you don’t do; not what you do

You have a test tomorrow. You have not yet completed your syllabus, and your friends have finished their first revision. What would you do to ace your test? Reinvent the wheel by continuing at the same pace (e.g. reading the text line by line) or ask your friend to give you a brief outlay of the material. Your choice will help you realize what you are comfortable with. However, remember this method should only be used in cases of time constraints, not as a substitute for reading the text book.

(2) Memorization

Studying in a group helps but it might also slow you down. If the person you are studying with is slow to grasp concepts or is someone who gets distracted easily, it might affect your study pattern too. Hence, group study can be both poison and elixir.

Let us face it – even though ideally, we love to believe that education is not about memorizing stuff; many times it comes as a handy tool. E.g. the periodic table, inverse trigonometric identities, etc. If you would like to devote time to memorization, do it alone.

(3) Motivating Factor

If you are someone who gets competitive and loses focus, maybe group study is not for you. On the other hand, if being competitive helps you study harder, you should go for it. Depending on what helps you study better, you can choose between the two.

Tip Never be afraid of asking doubts just because you are ashamed of what your group people will think of you. Due to time and class size constraints, even teachers encourage group study. Always ensure that you have grasped the key concepts.

Keep the agenda of your study session in mind when confused between group study or self study session.

There are various advantages of studying in a group. But you should always take time out and spend some time studying by yourself.

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