WHEN it comes to studying, managing your time is of the upmost importance. You should determine how much time spent studying is enough, which varies from student to student and from one class to another.
How much time should I spend studying?
The amount of time you should spend studying depends on how many classes you are enrolled in, your personal study habits, and your educational goals. As a general rule of thumb, most professors suggest that college students spend about two hours studying per week for each credit hour they take. However, recent studies have shown that most students only spend one hour studying per credit hour—just half of what is recommended to be successful. Most college courses are three to four credit hours, so this means that for each class you should spend about six to eight hours studying. Full-time students should anticipate spending about 30 hours each week studying.
To many students this can seem overwhelming, but if you manage your time correctly, your studying will become more productive and will help you perform better in both traditional and online courses.
Can I study too much?
Yes! Keep in mind that while you should spend the appropriate amount of time studying, going overboard is counterproductive. Students often mistakenly think that if they spend an excessive amount of time studying they will be better prepared. Long study sessions often become boring, and when your mind starts to wander, this study time is wasted. Spending an entire day cramming before a big exam is not the way to go. Learn how long you tend to concentrate on different subjects so that you can schedule focused, effective study sessions.
How to manage your time effectively
In addition to assessing your ability to concentrate on certain tasks, you’ll need to learn how to balance your personal life with your schoolwork. While college students devote a significant amount of their time to attending class and studying outside the classroom, they also have personal commitments like work, family, and friends they need to take into consideration. Neglecting other aspects of your life only works for so long; you’ll be more successful in the long run if you strike a healthy balance that incorporates these other parts of life in your schedule. Take a look at the following tips that can help you develop an integral time management plan.
- Tip #1: Make a detailed study schedule and write it down – Instead of just determining times to study in your head, make a subject-specific schedule and mark your calendar so you can be reminded every time you look at it. You will be more likely to follow through with your study plan if it is clearly marked on your calendar. Include your schedule in your cell phone and set regular pop-up reminders that you will have to close before sending your next text message. Making a schedule and sticking to it will allow you to develop a routine that you can easily follow.
- Tip #2: Prioritise your assignments – Prioritising your assignments is a good way to ensure you spend the appropriate amount of time studying for each class or subject. Devote more time to studying subjects that are new to you or those in which your grade needs improvement. Also, remember to study the harder subjects first so that you tackle them with a fresh mind. Additionally, you should organize your studies with important tests or exams in mind. If an exam in one course has been postponed, modify your study schedule to prioritise more immediate tests and projects. However, don’t neglect postponed tests altogether; take advantage of the extra time to review material during short study times each day.
- Tip #3: Prepare for temptation – The best way to overcome the temptation to put personal activities before studying is to anticipate these distractions. Attending college and earning good grades is almost like a full-time job, so your studies will have to take priority over socialising or other activities. You will inevitably compromise at some point, but don’t get discouraged. Rather, learn from your mistakes, and look for patterns in the times you put off studying. By knowing your weaknesses, you’ll be better prepared to resist temptation. Additionally, establish a way to reward yourself with fun activities after you finish a study session.
- Tip #4: Find a productive study environment – Locating a productive workspace where you can study is about more than just finding a quiet place. All students have a place where they are able to stay on task and maximise their time. Actually, some students find it ideal to study in a coffee shop or another place where there is background noise. Part of choosing an optimal study space is anticipating potential distractions in each place. Some students actually become more distracted when they study alone because there is no accountability.
- Tip #5: Stay organised – Staying organised is critical to avoid wasting valuable time as a college student. Since you will be enrolled in several classes at a time, it is important that you organise your class and study materials in a way that makes it easy to access them. Find an organisation method that works for you, such as using a separate binder or folder for each class. Also, when going into a study session, make sure you have anything you need. You don’t want to interrupt your study session by searching your room for flash cards or notes.
- Next issue: Taking effective notes