Self-Study vs. Coaching: Choosing the Right Path

Self-Study vs. Coaching: Choosing the Right Path


Before preparing for any kind of competitive exams, you always have a dilemma about whether to go for self-studies or get coached by the experts in the field. Here is a list of some of the pros and cons of each option and then we will try to reach a conclusion as to which one you should choose.

Coaching class


1. You can prepare your subject in less time.

2. You can be ensured that whatever you are being taught is correct.

3. A teacher is an expert who can tell you all about the practical aspects of the subject matter which are not available online and can also tell you about the exam patterns and questions which are repeatedly asked.

4. You can be assured that the course will be done for sure in a certain time period. So you can plan your revisions.

5. Getting coached by going to a coaching center will help you connect with people just like you, who are facing the same problems. So you will make connections and friends which will give you moral support.


1. It involves spending money on coaching institutions.

2. Everything is spoon-fed to you. So a broader theory base, which otherwise can be developed in self-study cannot be established.

3. You will have to go back home, and self-study for what is taught in the class. Without it, the coaching is rendered useless.

4. Because every student has a different learning pace, tutors may use an average speed so that even an average student can understand it (unless you hire a private tutor which of course involves more cost). So some may find it very boring as the class’s pace is slow while others may find it going too fast.



1. Even if you get coaching, without self-study, no coaching can help you get through the exams. You have to do some homework on your part as well to get an edge from others. So studying all by yourself without any coaching will save you time.

2. Self-study helps you to get a better knowledge of the subject matter as you use your own mind on every topic and there is no prepared ground for the topics your self-study. Thus, it sharpens your mind.

3. If you study on your own too, you need not revise the subject more because the topics read and researched all by yourself get stored in your memory more than the topics which are spoon-fed to you.

4. It is cost-effective.

5. It requires determination and will power to self-study. So this will not only help you in studying but also in other aspects of life.


1. It takes more time at first to understand even the simple concepts.

2. It is difficult when a tough concept requires teaching by experts.

3. It cannot be used when your exam dates are closing in, and you have not read anything about the subject matter at all.

4. Getting a coach will lead you to be taught by experts in the field who have practical knowledge of the subject matter. In self-study, practical things that are unavailable online cannot be learned.

5. It requires a lot of willpower to self-study consistently which cannot be practiced by every student.

Getting a coach will give you higher chances of good results whereas self-studying is something which if achieved will last for a lifetime and will help you develop yourself marginally from others. As both the options have their own pros and cons, it is recommended that if time permits you, combine both the options as per your own grasping power to get the best results.

Cracking a competitive exam is quite a task. With more than a million people looking for several competitive exams such as IIT JEE, GATE, SAT, GMAT, LSAT, etc. every year, it is essential to strike a proper balance between preparing for those exams and gaining guidance.

The biggest question that arises in a student's life when he or she is planning to appear for a competitive exam is whether to opt for coaching classes or self-preparation. Well, this is one of the most heated topics for debate since coaching classes have come to arise. It is natural for a student to fell puzzled amidst all the confusion. So, here we are with a detailed analysis of self-learning as well as the effects of joining a coaching institute.

Self Learning

Self-training is all about persistence. If you are a determined student who is confident enough to crack competitive exams such as IIT JEE on your own, then it is better for you to study at home instead of wandering around.

Features of Self Education:

1. Easing Out The Pressure

Sometimes when students join coaching institutes, they tend to get overwhelmed by the competition and even the easiest subjects seem pretty scary. In self-education, since a student is free to study at his own will, this eradicates the stress factor right away.

2. Preserves Energy

School and coaching can literally eat up your time and leave you with little or no energy to do anything else. Traveling from one place to another also wastes precious time which you can otherwise utilize to strengthen your concepts.

3. Making You Independent

When you study at home, you learn to take full responsibility for your syllabus. This way, a dependency on coaching institutes is removed, and you can plan out your work in a better way. Thus, self-training makes you independent.

4. Financial Aspect

If you do not want a severe dent in your pocket, then it is probably a good idea to refrain from coaching courses. One of the best factors of preferring self-study over joining the coaching academy is the cost-effectiveness it provides. You can utilize the money you save by not spending a fortune on coaching training in purchasing study guides and other relevant study material.

5. Environment

The best part about studying at home is the freedom it provides you. You can eat, sleep, and study on your own accord at the place and time of your choice.

Self-Study- Things To Be Cautious About:

1. Self-discipline

Don't let anything divert your focus. Since you are your own master, it is easier to get distracted. Make sure you stick to a schedule and concentrate fully on your studies and not to daydream while studying.

2. Research Well

No one is going to spoon-feed you. In the coaching academy, you are provided with a list of important questions, and basically, any study material that you require. You have to carry out your own research and development if you are not joining coaching courses. It is better to refer to online study material to get a deeper insight into the topics.

3. Increased Efforts

For performing well in any competitive exam, you need to practice. In coaching training, various tests are conducted at frequent intervals to assess the students but since you are on your own, make sure you practice enough by appearing for online mock tests in order to examine your strengths and weaknesses.

4. Think It Through

If you are a hundred percent sure that you can muster up the courage to take such an enormous responsibility, then you do not need to join a coaching institute. If you study with utmost sincerity, dedication, and devotion then go for it! However, if you have any doubts about your determination and focusing skills, then it is better to join a coaching academy and leave it to the pros.

5. Competition

When you study on your own, the only competitor you have to worry about is you. Therefore you need to be extra careful during preparation otherwise there is a risk that you might be left behind. Appear for as many practice tests as possible. Set your own deadline and make a plan to score better each time.


Due to a very common misconception, most people think that coaching institutes are only meant for students who are too lazy to make any efforts on their own. While it does reduce the efforts to some extent but it is much more than a shortcut for lethargic students. Let us take a look at the essential features of coaching institutes in detail.

Features Of Coaching Classes:

1. Edge In Competition

When you enroll in IIT coaching in order to prepare for various engineering entrance examinations you get to know the level of your own preparation. There are so many students preparing for the same that you have to face fierce competition to live up to the brilliant ones. This enhances your preparation and enables you to score better.

2. Keeping Up-to-date With The Latest Exam Trends

When you are studying in a coaching institute, you do not have to worry about sudden changes in the syllabus or the exam pattern. A group of qualified staff is there to guide you through the process and alter the teaching methods as and when required.

3. Study Material

Additional guides are rarely required for preparation since most of the coaching centers provide their own study material in which topics are arranged in a systematic manner. This way, you do not have to worry about sorting out the syllabus.

4. Pre-planned Methodology

The completion of the syllabus is planned by experts. All you have to do is follow their guidelines, and you can easily crack competitive exams. With the help of online study material, research papers, textbooks and various other sources the coaching centers make their own notes and provide it to the students.

Coaching Classes- Things To Be Cautious About:

Joining a coaching academy does not mean that you do not have to put in any effort as a student. There are specific factors you need to keep in mind when you have opted for a coaching institute.

1. Time Management

Following the timeline given by coaching classes will give a good result in most cases. But what about school? The real trouble arises when you have to manage school and coaching together. Here, time management is the key. If you are not able to manage school assignments with your coaching studies, then it is better to stay on a single track.

2. Exhaustion

Can you imagine your energy level when you attend both school and coaching in a single day? What about self-study? That is, after all, an important aspect regardless of whether you join a coaching academy or not. Even if you manage to study at night, what about the school assignments and homework? Ask yourself these questions before opting for coaching classes.

3. Keeping Up With The Pace

One of the most common problems encountered with students going for coaching classes is that if their doubts remain unclear in one class they are left behind in another class, and it just gets worse day by day. Since there are so many students, the staff cannot clear individual doubts on the same day. If you are not able to keep up with the pace of what is being taught, it is better that you opt for home tuition, online tuition or self-study.

4. Finances

Taking admission in a coaching institute is going to cost you a fortune. Not to mention, you will always be under pressure to perform well because of all the money your parents are spending. If you are not that sound financially, better look for other options. For example, GATE coaching can literally dismantle the finances of a family. The same is the case with IIT JEE coaching.

Finding The Middle Ground:

If simply none of the above two methods work for you it is time to find a way in between. If you are thinking that self-study is too big of a responsibility, but you are not ready to drain all your money, time, and energy by joining an IIT coaching, then take a step back to evaluate the situation.

The best way to deal with this is to sign up for an online coaching course. There are so many home study courses to choose from that you will definitely find the one that suits you.

In most cases, an online coaching course can turn out to be even better than coaching classes. Also, home study courses will enable you to study without compromising on your comfort zone.

Also, they cost a lot less than coaching institutes, and the availability of their services is much better. Even for exams as tough as GATE, a GATE online coaching is relatively inexpensive.

The bottom line, opt for the method that is best suited to your way of studying. When it comes to academics, it is better to stay in a comfort zone. Different methods work for different students, so there is no right or wrong here.

Be it self-study or coaching classes, the most important factor that has to be kept in mind is time management. If you can manage your time well, there is nothing that can stop you from cracking all those hyped competitive exams.

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