Study groups are a topic I find rather interesting. It’s a topic that I’ve covered a few times but I think it’s worth explaining a little differently. This question was a great opportunity.
I absolutely love study groups. I’ve read some articles on your old blog about how you shouldn’t really use study groups. I know you don’t directly say it but your “tips” make creating a “good” study group almost impossible. That makes me think you’d not support any study group in reality. What do you have against study groups? I’ve always found them to be a good way to get motivated to study.
I won’t argue that I’m not a big fan of study groups. My tips for creating a good study group are rather strict. (You can find a few similar ones here.) They’re strict because creating a good study group is unbelievably difficult. It’s hard to find a group of people that are appropriately related in skill level so that they all get an equal benefit from the group. Usually it ends up with one or two students benefiting from the study group while the rest of them are just spending their time less efficiently than they could have if they just studied alone.
The most powerful ways of learning can be utilized in a study group but most of the time, the least powerful ways are the strategies being utilized. A person that leads a study group (and works more like a teacher) benefits immensely from a study group. A person that is behind the rest of the students in a study group may benefit. The average student listening and participating only a small fraction of the time is not benefiting much from the group. They’re virtually a tool to help the other high participation students benefit. There is no way to balance this out well.
You may benefit immensely from a study group if you find yourself in one of the high participation positions but you must understand that everyone is not benefiting in the same way. I don’t recommend this because most people in a study group end up on the losing end of that study group.
The thing I have against study groups is that they’re inefficient compared to a shorter, silent, and single-person session. A groups time will always be split between a number of different students. An individual’s time can always be dedicated to that individual’s learning needs when they’re alone.
Sure, I wouldn’t stop a person from going into a study group if studying wasn’t their top priority. Study groups can be good for making like-minded friends, growing friendships, and having fun. (I’d argue there are better ways but that’s just my opinion.)
Study groups are mostly just a distraction when it comes to trying to learn something. The more time you spend using inefficient ways to learn something, the more you think you’re learning something, and the less you actually are learning something.
So, consider a study group but make sure you have the right set of goals in mind beforehand. (And if you’re going to try to study in a study group, try to take up a teacher-style role. That’s generally the most certain way to benefit immensely.)
Smart Student Secrets is where you can discover the most advanced strategies for studying today. It’s loaded with tips for improving the way you study (and decreasing the time you need to do it.) It’s the home of the 15 Minute Study Strategy. Be sure to follow and check out the archives to learn more. If you’re looking to learn it even faster then check out the ebooks in the sidebar.
This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.
I’m about 4 hours away from something big.
The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.
I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.
Droves of them.
And then teachers noticed.
Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.
Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.
I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.
But… There was a problem…
I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…
And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.
I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.
I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.
I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.
I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.
I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.
But there was always this… but…
What about the C students?
What about the D students?
What about the students that are currently failing?
Sure… Some would reach out.. but…
They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…
And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.
And it’s gone.
Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.
In about 4 hours, I’m going to be introducing something – an email subscriber exclusive – that can help change that.
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