Most people have their own unique preferences and ways of studying. For some, study groups may be distracting, while for others, study groups can be helpful and informative. These preferences, however, are largely affected by people’s personalities.
Study groups can only be effective if the people involved are not easily distracted. This means that they should be able to put their minds together, keep their attention focused on the task at hand, and try not to make distractions that bother one another. Study groups, however, can be difficult to put together, especially since people generally study in different ways.
We can say that people can only effectively study together if all the people involved know the guidelines. But, even then, the guidelines may not be enough to prevent tomfoolery during study sessions. The guidelines should be presented even before the study group gets together for the first time, to ensure that the sessions go as smoothly as possible.
Many students like to study in groups because they can ask one another questions and they can think about problems together. Think about a group of math students. One person may be able to solve a math problem by himself, but he might be able to answer that problem more quickly, and gain more insight, if he were to work with others. John S. Mill, as we may all know, suggested that an open forum of thinkers who propose and mix their ideas is better than keeping ideas to one’s self. This idea is applicable to study groups, since more people results in more minds, which consequently results in more ways to answer one problem.
However, study groups can get nasty. If even one person is not compatible with another person, the study sessions an go awry. The people who can work successfully in study groups are those who can easily get along with others, even if those other people are not as easy to get along with. And, the people who do well in study groups are those who can keep their mind focused to whatever task is at hand, even if there are many people around and there is a greater possibility of distractions.
Study groups are quite effective, and should be encouraged because they foster teamwork and other social interactions. However, study groups require much thought and the right people; if not, it is better that each member study on his own.