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Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other students

  1. Nov 8, 2009 #1
    vs. studying alone, never talking to anyone about anything in the class?

    (In science/math classes), how much does it help to study with others in class vs. studying alone?
    How much would you say it improves your performance (understanding of course materials) in a class / passing when you study with
    a group of people
    one other person in the class
    or just study by yourself and don't talk to anyone

    Do you usually study alone or with other people?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2009 #2
    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    It really depends on what works best for you. I prefer to study alone with music blasting, but for a lot of people I could see how that would be a big distraction. On the other hand, studying with other people could be beneficial if someone approaches an idea from a different perspective from your own.

    Experiment with a couple of different ways and go with whatever gets the job done for you.
     
  4. Nov 9, 2009 #3
    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    I have found in the past that it greatly depends. There are times where I have gotten together with a few friends to study together, and we get absolutely nothing done -- we just chat. With other groups, we have gotten into a good rhythm and had a really solid review session.

    I think that group sessions are best used as refreshers, and are not so great for doing homework problems. Now that I am in third year, I only use group sessions as an opportunity for sharing knowledge/ideas. I will ask questions about the material (which I typically already know the answer to) and we usually have a blackboard going so that the questions can be answered on the board in a kind of teaching sort of way. This helps to solidify concepts if both participants are active in the discussion. It also allows for occasional 'Eureka' moments when you discover your friend has a distinctly clever way of approaching/thinking about certain problems/concepts. Also, I know its almost cliche, but teaching really is the best way to learn (to cement ideas in your mind anyways) -- but only if your 'pupil' is capable of pointing out errors in your thinking / being intelligent.

    I never use study groups for doing homework anymore, it turns into a "how did you do question #16" fest really quickly, which is an absolute waste of time for all those involved.
     
  5. Nov 9, 2009 #4
    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    I think this depends on the people you're working with. For instance, I remember being an undergrad and taking the second half of upper level mechanics. The class met in the evenings because the professor preferred to work at nights (he had the building to himself). About 3 other students and I would regularly set up in the grad student lounge around 7 or 8 to work on the problem set that week (which was significant; this guy believed (rightly) that the only way to learn something was to do it).

    Usually the problems were hard and you would get stuck on your own. We were smart enough to know we'd learn nothing by copying each others work. The easy one's we'd usually work on our own, the hard one's we'd work together. It certainly was a race sometimes to see who could come up with the correct method most quickly; this often led to several of us working down different paths, and it was interesting to look at what the others had done.

    The best part was the professor noticed us in there one evening, and came in to offer advice/help. As the course went on, and the problems were more difficult, he would almost always come by, offer examples and work different things on the whiteboards to help us learn. I think this served as a break for him, and great instruction for us, since it was so personal.

    So you never know what resources you'll uncover by getting out of your room and working.
     
  6. Nov 9, 2009 #5
    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    I spent a lot of time just talking about the exam with other people who were interested in the subject and that built my conceptual understanding up so much. I think you can learn 100 times faster sometimes when you ask the right question, compared to searching around for textbooks in the library, trying to figure out foreign notation, etc.

    For other things, though, I prefer to be left alone. Coursework, for example, I like to close myself away and work for 5 solid hours typing or researching something. Also I find I hate to work with other people on maths, some problems are so tedious I just want to get it done, and if someone interrupts me I'll lose track of everything. (the time wasted finding Christoffel symbols and I forget what on earth I am doing from an interruption...)


    For physics it is so important to be able to have conversations about the work I think.
     
  7. Nov 9, 2009 #6

    PrincePhoenix

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    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    As dotman said, it depends on the people you work with. If they are more into chatting than studying, they will waste time. But if you know you friends are serious in studying, then it helps. I've had experience with both types of people.
     
  8. Nov 9, 2009 #7
    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    I know the names of probably 3 people at my university and I have a wife, kids, job....so I do nearly all my studying alone.
    However, in the few times I've studied in groups I've found that I seem to gain something if there is a knowledge discrepancy between me and other members.

    If I'm on the upper end and the study session ends up primarily being me attempting to teach the material to the other students, I find it seems to end up helping me as much as them.
    The opposite holds as well, if I'm the confused one and someone is the situational expert, it can help me learn something that would have taken much longer to work through on my own.

    If the study group has everyone on equal footing...it seems that people end up just wanting to talk and nothing gets done.
     
  9. Nov 9, 2009 #8
    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    This is the exact same thing I've experienced. When I'm ahead of the small group I like to study with, I gain a lot of insight by trying to teach them. When I'm struggling, they do the same for me.

    I mostly study alone, due to having a job where I sit alone in an empty showroom waiting for the rare customer to come in, but I find it helpful to collaborate on top of that.
     
  10. Nov 9, 2009 #9
    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    I have noticed that effect as well, in our group we'd each learn a chapter of the notes, and then spend the next day teaching it to the other two. You'd study it for hours and think you knew it, then the next day they'd ask all sorts of disgusting questions and your response is... "right, I don't have a clue!" I think that's when you find out exactly how much you don't know that you don't know.
     
  11. Nov 9, 2009 #10

    Moonbear

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    Re: Do you feel as though it is helpful to your grade or not to study with other stud

    These things you're all describing are well-known benefits of study groups. And, yes, the group dynamics you've described are essential to it working well.

    I tell my students to pick classmates who are NOT their friends to study with. If you meet with friends, it is too tempting to chit chat and spend too much of the session deciding what take-out to order rather than studying. If you meet with people who your only connection with is the class you're taking and the material you need to study, you will stay focused. Sure, you may become friends with them over time too, but you'll have already established your study patterns by then, and will know when it's time to work and when it's time to play.

    I agree with those who say it's not the time to do homework. You should do your homework on your own. Use the study group time to get answers to questions you had while doing your homework, or understanding why a particular answer you missed was right, etc. It's of course not your ONLY study approach, because a good study group depends on everyone attending to arrive already prepared and having done some studying on their own so the hour or so you spend together can focus on things you can't figure out on your own, or reviewing material to make sure you haven't missed an entire level of understanding you need to do well.
     
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