Every law student is different, and while some students may work best when studying alone, it might be a good idea to consider study groups. These routine meetings to discuss cases or concepts studies in class, either to discuss readings before class, discuss concepts covered in class after class, or both, can be a benefit to a certain type of student in law school.
Study Group Pros
- Study groups build relationships with other students that can make law school more enjoyable and give it more of a feeling of community. Sometimes law school can feel like a competition, and a study group, with people working together to achieve a common goal, can alleviate those feelings.
- Others in study groups can point out something you missed in your reading of a case. Study groups generally reduce the chances you’ll miss something in readings or from class lectures.
- Study groups can help students to be sure to stay up to date on readings (to be able to contribute in the group).
- Study groups offer further opportunities to discuss cases and concepts.
Study Group Cons
While there are many reasons for study groups, there are reasons against them, as well. Here are a few:
- Discussion can be redundant (covering what you’ve already learned or understand)
- They can be confusing (for example, when every student has a different take on the reading and no one is sure which is the correct take; without a professor there to guide, it can lead to confusion)
- Some students may use the group as a way to catch up on the reading (meaning, they will not do the reading, ask a lot of questions in order to catch themselves up, and hold the rest of the people in the group, who did do the reading, back)
Study Group Alternatives
While some people prefer not to take part in a regular study group, there can be benefits to semi-regular groups or other discussions. Taking part in a study group for a final exam is often recommended, even for those students who prefer to study alone. Another alternative is to prepare outlines and study notes, then compare your notes with others to see what you’ve missed.
Every student must come up with whatever is the best way for him or her to study him or herself. Consider whether or not study groups are right for you as you take law school head on.