The Pros and Cons of Study Groups

With the start of a new semester, it is time to organize study groups or decide to go it alone. Looking at the pros and cons, you have to decide if study groups are effective for you.  BYU Law student Justin Miller, 2L, and recent graduate Rebekah-Anne Gebler share their thoughts on studying together.


  • Helps establish friendships

“I think the biggest pro of a study group is having a close group of friends. Law school is taxing and can be isolating.” -Justin

  • Helps fight procrastination

If you are using it to outline or complete weekly assignments, the study group makes sure that that happens.” -Rebekah

  • Easier to coordinate with classmates

“Some tasks are definitely easier with a study group (e.g. creating flashcards, sharing notes, reviewing hypotheticals, etc.)” -Justin

  • Easier to understand concepts

“For my 1L and 2L years, I used the study rooms a lot for group study to do weekly outlining. We found that outlining on a weekly basis helped us understand the concepts better. That’s why I chose to study in groups.” -Rebekah

Hipster business successful teamwork concept, business group assembling jigsaw puzzle


  • Absorb less material

“Sometimes people don’t let you talk and instead of learning you just write down what others say. You have to learn to speak up.” -Rebekah

  • Use others as a crutch

“I think the biggest pitfall associated with study groups is if people use them to substitute their own work instead of using them to improve their work.” -Justin

  • More distractions

“I tend to study best on my own.” -Justin

Student Studying Hard Exam and Sleeping on Books, Tired Girl Read Difficult Book in Library

General study tips:

  1. Don’t procrastinate outlining:

“The biggest study tip I can offer is to outline early (first week) and often (every week). Most importantly, make sure it’s your own outline. The point isn’t to memorize the law and cases but to think through and organize the material in a way that makes sense to you.” -Justin

  1. Change locations:

“I do my reading at a different place from my carrel. I can write at my carrel but it’s hard for me to read and take notes on the reading at my carrel. I need new scenery at times.” -Rebekah

  1. Keep study groups small.

“It is most effective when people are prepared and when it’s kept at 5 people or less. Five is a big group in my mind — too many opinions and nothing gets accomplished.” -Rebekah


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