Study groups can be helpful for test preparation, but relying heavily on others in law school is not always the greatest strategy.
This article will provide tips and tricks on figuring out if study groups will help or hurt you as a student, beginning with five reasons why it’s helpful to have a study group in law school.
5 Benefits of Joining a Study Group in Law School
1. Camaraderie creates confidence
Since there are intimidating and stressful aspects of law school, study groups can be sources of support and friendship. It’s important to feel connected to your classmates, and you can gain confidence by spending time with a group of friends who also share an interest in legal matters.
According to Duncan Harle from John Foy & Associates, “I would urge anyone going through law school to not fly solo. It is a hard but rewarding experience. From my own stand-point, the partners in my study group eventually became some of my lifelong friends. One of them has been a groomsman in our wedding. I am the godfather to one of their children. Studying as a group helps you think out of the box – a crucial element to the study, and practice of law.”
2. Group thinking sparks learning
If you’re having trouble with a specific topic, you might find that a group of acquaintances can help you view the lessons from a different perspective. Group thinking can help you achieve a much deeper level of understanding and clarity. Studying with peers also ensures that you’re studying the right information. After the information is explained in class, it’s helpful to make sure you’re not interpreting the concepts incorrectly.
3. Accountability partners encourage good habits
When you schedule a study session, you give yourself a great reason why you can’t procrastinate. While it’s not going to be fun to use your own time for extra studying, you’ll become more accountable over time. They might even give you the extra push you need to devote the necessary time toward school and extracurricular activities so that you can succeed.
4. Increased access to study materials and tips
Often, fellow group study members will be aware of tips and tricks that you might not have heard of otherwise. While you study, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the best study practices, which you can use again and again.
5. More motivation and support
In addition to having increased camaraderie, your group study partners can also help you set goals and take action to achieve them. Sometimes, all you need is a little extra push in the right direction to get you on the right track.
5 Negatives to Joining a Study Group in Law School
While there are many things to be gained from study groups, they can also have some downfalls. Consider the following reasons to avoid study groups in law school before you sign up right away.
1. Too much socializing can be a problem
Study groups have an increased social factor if any of the members aren’t dedicated to the cause. Staying on task is critical, and if this is an issue, you might need to find a different group that’s interested in getting things done.
2. Limits might need to be set
If you’re spending the majority of the time explaining concepts and not making progress in your studies, you might be in the wrong group. Set limits early as far as how much ‘tutoring’ you are willing to do in a group environment. If you find you’re as well-versed with the concepts involved in social security disability as your professor, you might need their recommendation for a higher-level group.
3. Public areas aren’t the quietest places to focus
Sometimes, it might be necessary to have a very quiet location to study in, and this is hard to achieve in a group. There is typically cross-talk, random questions, and comments asked throughout the session. For those who learn best in total quiet, study groups won’t give you the peace that you need.
4. Groups might be too big
A study group that has outgrown itself won’t be able to give each member the attention they need to cement the concepts in their minds and to branch out into new areas. Also, if people can’t hear each other, it’s going to turn into an issue.
5. Some disagreements lead to arguments
If group members aren’t getting along, they should consider switching to a different group for everyone’s sake. In legal matters, there are plenty of hot topics that tend to push people’s buttons. No one can learn if the group can’t stay calm.
In short, study groups can help and hurt in various situations. If you’re thinking of joining one to help get through law school, think about the ways that you learn best personally. If you need the extra accountability and can focus just fine in chaotic places, joining one might help you fly through your classes.