So often, group study sessions are seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the best of both worlds. Combining studying, and hopefully getting good marks, with socialising, possibly with a solid lunch break sounds like a pretty good deal. What could go wrong?
Unfortunately, group study sessions can often feel like a waste of time. Once you put the effort into getting dressed, compile your notes, laptop and chargers together in some semblance of order, buying or making food and travelling to the venue you may feel like you’ve wasted half the day. After working for 40mins you and your friends take a 40 min lunch break, and before you know it, it’s 3pm and your computer is out of charge.
Don’t feel bad if group study sessions don’t go well for you
There are so many factors that contribute to feeling like a study session is a waste of time, or that your friends are making you unproductive. Don’t feel guilty if, for whatever reason, group study scenarios don’t work out for you. It doesn’t mean you are lonely, or antisocial, or a super nerd.
We spoke to HSC student Arthur, who reminded us that there are different types of people and particularly different types of learners, who require different environments to study efficiently. “I find it helpful to be at the same desk every day - but not everyone would like that” he said, pointing to his friend who goes to different libraries each day. “He loves studying together, but I find it really distracting. Even if we aren’t talking, just knowing that he’s there take a large amount of my mental energy.”
Don’t count yourself out
Ultimately, group study sessions can work for everyone. It comes down to knowing what works for you.
You might be someone who learns best from discussion, or even argumentation. As you chat to your friends, you remember your notes better, your ideas become clearer and you feel energised. The type of study group you would benefit from is extremely different from someone who uses your friends for accountability. You don’t care what they are doing as long as you are sitting next to each other and your phones are in a stack on the table.
If you aren’t sure what study style suits you the best, think for a moment about how you study when your by yourself. Are you focused, intensely looking at notes? Are you educating your puppy on the different cellular organs? These might provide hints for how study groups could be efficient for you!
Think about what kind of classes you find the most memorable as well. Are they the ones where you complete a worksheet by yourself, or where you are engaged in a debate. Scientific experiment or personal writing exercise?
Make sure you and your friends are all on the same page
Once you’ve worked out what type of study sessions will be beneficial for you, make sure you communicate with your friends. Discuss what you are hoping to achieve with a particular study session. Are you wanting to complete a practice paper, or have a round table discussion about Hamlet?
A risk with these kind of things is that one person will have spent much more time preparing then a second person, and it then being an uneven flow of information. You don’t want study sessions to only benefit a few participants.
So create some boundaries and make sure you are prepared to contribute.
If you’re looking for a place to study, or a group hang out vibe, come visit Pinnacle between 11:00am - 4pm any Saturday of this holiday. You’re able to work as a group and ask any question regarding your work.
If that doesn’t fit your need or your group, try Hurstville library, Penshurst library or even the state library.
Have other study methods too
Ultimately, study groups can be fantastic motivators and ways to lift your grades, but don’t rely on them in isolation and make sure you are being strategic as well!
Find whatever suits you the best, and stick to it. With only three weeks until term starts and exams soon after that, you need all the time you can get.