For those of you that have decided you study better with someone else (or perhaps prefer a mix of studying alone and in a group setting), it can be difficult to find the perfect study partner. It’s no easy task, but it is an important one, which is why you should take it seriously. We know how tempting it can be to study with your best friend. But in most cases, studying with your friend turns into hanging out, watching TV, surfing the internet, and working on schoolwork for a grand total of 30 minutes (if you’re lucky!). That is why we highly recommend that whoever you choose, you ensure they meet the list of criteria we’ve laid out below.

When searching for a study partner, be sure to choose someone…

1. Who Won’t Distract You

Unfortunately, this most likely rules out your best friend. One of the worst traits of a study partner is someone with an inability to stay focused. Rule out anyone who easily goes off topic, is constantly multi-tasking during study sessions (checking their phone, browsing the internet, etc…), or always wants to take breaks. Distractions are that much harder to resist when coming from someone else. Choose someone who understands that a study session is for studying.  

2. Who Shares Similar Goals With You

Before choosing a study partner, make sure any potential candidates have similar academic goals to you. Do they work hard? Do they always strive to get top marks in class? How much time do they typically spend studying outside of school? Are they planning on applying to university? These are all key questions to consider when deciphering whether someone will be a good study partner. If you have similar goals, it will be easier to work together. Plus, chances are if they seem ambitious, they will be more likely to stay on track.

3. Who Shares Similar Study Habits With You

People have very different study habits. Before choosing a study partner, make sure that your study habits are similar to your potential partner’s, or at the very least that your habits are compatible. For example, you might prefer to study at the library in the evenings and take breaks once per hour, whereas someone else might prefer studying at home during the day, and taking short breaks every half an hour (check out The Best Places To Study In Your Neighbourhood for other study spot ideas). Figure out their study style before you commit (unless you’re willing to be flexible).

4. Who Can Challenge You

It’s important that you have a study partner that can challenge you. Not only does competition foster motivation, but you don’t want to be the one doing an uneven amount of work or constantly explaining key concepts to the other person. Yes, a study partner is there to help you some of the time, but you shouldn’t be their tutor. This goes along with criterion #2 (sharing similar goals), but be sure that you are on equal academic-footing and will consistently be helping each other learn and discover new ways of understanding or thinking about concepts.

5. Whose Strengths Compliment Your Weaknesses

Again, the relationship between two study partners should not be similar to that of a tutor and their student. However, it can be beneficial to find a study partner who excels in a certain subject or unit that you have trouble with, and vice versa. For example, perhaps you struggle in trigonometry but are well-versed in algebra. If you find a study partner who is great at trigonometry, but finds algebra a bit more challenging, this could be a match made in heaven!