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Studying In A Group Is Scientifically Awesome

Fact: Studying in a group can be much more effective than studying alone! 
I’m not just saying this because of what I’ve observed as a teacher and counselor, but this is actually what years of scientific research are showing. Studying in a group allows us to use a couple of techniques that can be harder to do when it’s just us on our own.
For one, studying in a group helps us do something we call retrieval practice. This is the process of making flash cards, quizzing each other, asking questions to your study group members. This makes you actively fish back into your brain to come up with the answers, and is a very active way of studying. This kind of studying is far more effective than what we typically do when we’re alone, which is simply highlighting pages in the textbook or re-reading lectures and scanning notes. 
Additionally, a study group can be effective because it can hold us accountable! It forces us to study at a certain time and place, rather than saying “I’ll study Spanish sometime next week” but then procrastinating and not getting it done.  Knowing you have a group of friends that are all working on the same thing means you have to keep up with the rest of the group – no procrastination allowed! 
Beyond accountability, studying in a group that meets once a week works well because it’s spaced out. This is another tip we understand from learning science that cramming last minute doesn’t allow our brains to remember as much as consistent learning over a spaced out time period. 
The final important tip is to make sure you’re working with a group of like-minded studiers!  Together, by consistently using retrieval practice and space practice we get faster and faster at remembering critical concepts, avoid cramming and can even make the study more enjoyable by doing it with the group!  
All the best,
Amy Brennen and Team Insight 

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