When you’re in college, it can be tough to balance the demands of a social life with the requirements of your academic goals. Group study can help you do both – but there are a number of downsides to working with a team that could keep you from doing your best work. While this can be a great opportunity for you and your classmates, it’s important to be sure you’re doing what’s best for you, and for your education.
If you have some classmates who are interested in partnering up to tackle a tough assignment together, look at the pros and cons of doing homework in a group before making the commitment.
- Group work is interactive.
Many students will do their best work when they have the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other, responding to each other’s input and opinions. Remember to keep the conversation balanced – some students with stronger voices may dominate the discussion.
- Group work encourages involvement.
When you’re just working on an assignment by yourself, often the main goal is just to get the work done. But with a group, you’ll wind up developing a much deeper understanding of the subject material, thanks to the increased involvement you’ll participate in.
- Group work creates networking opportunities.
If this is your first time living away from home, it can be intimidating to get out and make new friends. Working on a homework assignment with a group of classmates can help you build connections and cultivate potential friendships that you may not have pursued otherwise.
- Group work is a nice change.
For students who learn better outside of the classroom, this is a great way to delve into the course material in a way that will help you understand it better. A shift away from traditional learning techniques is a welcome break, sometimes.
- Group work can be distracting.
On your own, it’s easier to buckle down and get your work done – but when you’re sitting with a group of classmates, there’s plenty more to talk about than just the task at hand. If you’re the kind of person who can get side-tracked easily, or you’re working with people who are, this might not be the best way to complete important assignments.
- Group work can cause conflict.
If you’re working on a controversial topic and everyone is sharing their thoughts and opinions, it’s likely that a heated discussion will arise. While most students should be able to handle a respectful debate, it can sometimes cause issues with the group – and prevent students from getting their work done.
- Group work can be unfair.
Working with a team on a research assignment or a presentation can be somewhat frustrating for students who like to take charge, because tasks will need to be evenly divided amongst the group. However, if there are students who don’t want to participate, others will have to work twice as hard to pick up the slack.
- Group work can be difficult for certain learners.
If you’re a non-auditory learner and you need to read materials to fully absorb information, the process of group discussion will probably not be very helpful for you. If you can, read up on the subject before the group gets together, so you’ll be more comfortable contributing to the conversation.