Student Life

Pros, Cons & Risks of Study Sites

Discover the pros, cons and risk of using popular study sites.

Elizabeth Hoyt

November 15, 2019

Pros, Cons & Risks of Study Sites
Students and professors alike often wonder about study sites, specifically the pros, the cons and the risks posed by them. Study sites and apps provide students with access to resources old tests, homework and/or textbook problems and class notes. Students can often also interact by forming study groups and exchanging ideas on courses and course topics. These forums often allow students to share course experiences and work. Some professors rant and some professors rave about these student resources. Which leaves many students to wonder: should I be using these study apps and sites? There’s no clear cut right or wrong answer. We’ll provide you with the main arguments, including the pros and cons of using these resources, and let YOU decide from there.

Pros of Using Study Sites:

Provides learning resources – Through study sites, students have access to a wealth of knowledge from courses around the world that they otherwise would not have.
Comprehensive study resources – Students can study from real course materials and can focus on the areas that matter most when preparing for exams, practice problems and more.
Exchange of thoughts and ideas between students – On many of these study sites, students can create study groups, exchange ideas and engage with each other no matter what their location.
Catch up – Life happens, and students must miss class sometimes. Students can fall behind if this happens. Study sites can help provide these students with access to notes and materials they missed and stay on track with their studies.
Learn from mistakes – If you’re able to access answer keys and guides, you’re able to see where you are making mistakes in your studies and correct them before you take your exams.

Cons & Risks of Using Study Sites:

Plagiarism – Study sites often have options to download old course materials, sometimes including exams, other student’s papers, etc. Students should be warned to use these properly – as reference guides – and not to copy another student’s work. Plagiarism is a serious offense and, in addition to being dishonest, can ruin a student’s academic career.
Copy write infringement – Posting, sharing and/or using certain content can put students at risk for copy write infringement. You cannot use someone else’s work without giving them credit. This includes materials created by students and professors. This potentially includes students that upload content as well as students who download content.
Learn Less – As cliché as it may sound, the truth is that students who use study sites to cheat, rather than as a learning resource, are cheating themselves in the end. The point of going to school is to learn – your grades have no value if they are not your grades.
Learn wrong – How do you know that the study guides, papers and other course materials provided are correct? You often don’t. That means you could potentially be using a study guide that’s not helping you study at all.
Temptation to cheat – Some students may not intend to cheat – and then the opportunity presents itself. Study sites that provide exams, other downloadable student papers and other course materials open the doorway to that possibility. As with most things, there are intentions of use and then what people end up using it for. Study sites are created to provide students with invaluable resources to study, but that does not mean that’s what all students are using them for. Depending on the intention of use, study sites can be extremely helpful or extremely harmful to a student’s learning process. Students should not participate in anything that violates their school’s student code of ethics. Still unsure of where you stand? When in doubt, we recommend you ask a professor. If a question arises about whether you should be using a resource, reach out to your professors. Explain to them what the site or app is, what it provides and why you think it’s useful. If the site or app you’re intending to use is harmless, your professors should have no problem with you using it or the resources available on it.

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