Are You A Solo Studier, or a Group Studier?
Effective study skills are essential to learning from your class readings, homework, and lectures. To get the greatest benefit from your study time, it is useful to know which type of studier you are, and how you learn best: solo studying, or group studying.
You might prefer studying alone if you work best somewhere quiet with minimal distractions or interruptions, so that you can give your full and undivided attention to the topics you are reviewing. You may also learn the material best by thinking things through yourself, and independently researching when you are not sure of the answer.
If you are a group studier, you likely prefer being able to discuss difficult material, ask questions when you get stumped, and explain things to others, in order feel that you have properly mastered the material at hand. You may also like quizzing each other on material, and being able to take a mental break with occasional moments of non-study socializing.
Regardless of your methods, your top consideration should always be to study the way you feel you get the best understanding of the material. Whichever way you prefer to study, however, there are benefits to occasionally using the alternate method- mix it up.
If you find your group study sessions become more about socializing than completing your work, or that everyone in your group wants to focus on material that you have already mastered, some solo study time might be a good idea. One solution is to have everyone in the group get through their own most-required material separately, then rejoin for a group review. This way you can focus independently on what you need to learn, and then later participate in a general review in the more social group setting.
Conversely, if while studying solo you feel you’re not fully understanding the material, that you have trouble finding the correct answer or method on your own, or if the workload is extremely heavy and starts to feel overwhelming, it may be time for some group study. You can benefit from being able to talk through the difficult material with others, or you can take the opportunity to divide a heavy workload and note-taking tasks with a few trusted friends, then have regular review and note exchange sessions.
Good study habits in school become good work habits, so learning early on what way you study and learn best will carry forward into any future career.