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Study groups?

  1. Sep 17, 2011 #1
    Hey guys, would you say study groups benefit everyone? I've always studied by myself and so far I'm an A+ student. Are study groups something that help everyone, or are they mostly aimed at certain mindsets?

    For example, I could see the "slowest" persons of the group getting a lot out of study group. I could also understand why someone that has trouble studying my himself (lack of motivation, procrastination, etc.) could benefit from a study group: he would be forced to learn stuff while the group is together, and he would also have to study a little bit on his own to be ready when the group meets. Deadlines can help people that tend to procrastinate.

    Since I'm very motivated by what I study, I get good grades. I'm not a genius, but I have a strong desire to learn as much as I can about everything that touches Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (I'm an EE student). I also take the time to make study cards on Anki, a program that shows you flash cards. You can rate how difficult it was to answer the question and the program will show you the card sooner or later depending on your answer. I think doing these cards cover the "teaching other people is the best way to make sure you understand what you're talking about" part of study groups, because I have to think about how to formulate the cards in the most efficient way. (if I use certain words the answer is too easy, if I'm not specific enough and there's 3 ways to answer X question, chances are 6 months from now I'll answer something completely different, etc.).

    One last factor is that I sometimes feel the need to take short breaks when trying to learn something. I'll browse the internet for 10-15 minutes or grab something to eat while my mind refreshes itself. In a study group I would be "forced" to keep going, in a sub-optimal state.

    So basically, am I missing something by not participating in a study group? Are they really something that every single person would benefit from, or are they great for certain students only?

    note: I am NOT anti-social, this is simply how I like to study. If I have questions or if someone asks me a question, I gladly ask/answer others.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2011 #2
    If you find the material straightforward I do not think its worth it for you. If you find the material complicated it is helpful to discuss it with others. For example I don't think I would benefited terribly much from a study group in calculus. However talking about real Analysis has helped me (asking each other "stupid questions", help finding illustrative examples, making and proving conjectures, etc).
     
  4. Sep 17, 2011 #3

    AlephZero

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    If you have found a way that works for you, then why change it?

    On the other hand, learning to work in and/or with a group is a skill in itself, and you will need to learn that skill to have a successful career in the long term. So it might be worth trying out a study group for that reason.
     
  5. Sep 17, 2011 #4

    micromass

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    Indeed, if you're an A+ student, then you don't need your study method.

    That said, even the best student can get something out of study groups. Explaining the material to another person really adds a lot to your own understanding!! It's one thing to be able to prove a theorem, it's another thing to explain this to a person.
     
  6. Sep 17, 2011 #5
    To share my experience and reiterate some points already made:

    The majority of my studying time is done alone, but I usually meet with classmates to discuss things for an hour or so before an exam. In cases when I'm not the most prepared in the group, I end up learning something from someone else. In the cases when I am the most prepared, I end up teaching all of the others - which of course I benefit from because it requires me to rethink things and explain them to someone else. So for me personally, I see a benefit from studying in a group, even if it's for a short time compared to the overall studying time.
     
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