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5 Things That Can Stop a Study Group from Being Successful

Group of little students

We all know that joining a study group can help students be successful when it comes to tricky assignments and projects. Working together can help students stay motivated and hold them to a schedule. In general, students who are part of a study group will take their academics more seriously and end up being more successful overall. However, there are times when study groups just don’t work. This can be for any number of reasons but there are a few universal issues that can stop collaborative study from being productive.

1)  The students in the group don’t get along

If students within a study group really just don’t get along it can become a huge distraction from accomplishing work. Students don’t get to choose who they attend classes with but they can choose who is in their study group. It is better to work on projects with people who all have a friendly, or at least civil, attitude towards each other. If there are several people who don’t get along it might be better to break the study group up into two or three separate groups.

2)  The students in the group have varying levels of motivation

In a larger study group there may be different levels of motivation. For example, there might be two or three students who want to get straight A’s in the class and a few who are happy with a C. Students who have more or less motivation may find it very frustrating over time. One student feels they are doing all the work and the other student feels like they’re being pressured to put in more time than they wish.

3)   The assignment or project is better done alone

Some assignments are just better completed solo. For instance, writing an essay for an AP course may be something students should learn to do on their own. Furthermore, they will be expected to be completely independent and develop this skill come exam day. Students who just sit and write essays quietly together may find that a study group is more distracting than helpful. On the other hand, activities such as learning flashcards can be much better when done with a partner or in a group. It really just depends on the situation.

4) Students can distract each other

Although study groups can make homework more fun, sometimes they can become a bit of a distraction. Think about how much time it would have taken to complete the assignment alone. If it takes two or three times as long to complete the same assignment in a study group, it’s probably not the best option. Students who distract each other amongst the group can actually help each other lower grades rather than raise them.

5)  Student schedules can conflict

One of the most difficult aspects of forming a successful study group is the fact that most students’ schedules are not the same. Students who live far away from each other or who all have afternoon commitments to sports or a part time job may find it difficult to get together at all. If this is the case, students might want to meet directly after school or form of virtual study group over Skype. If that still doesn’t work maybe it’s better just to study solo.

In short

Although study groups can be a great way to help students complete difficult assignments; there are some things that can make it difficult for them to be successful. Students are encouraged to think about whether or not their particular assignment or project is better done in a group setting or alone in the library with few distractions.

Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.

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