We, at ExamQA, have made a rough guide for how many hours per day you should spend studying, depending on your year.
This is a good base to abide by, however its something you can adjust. (Personally we recommend doing more hours).
Studying can be a tedious task for some and a delight for others. Regardless of whether you enjoy studying or not, you still have to do it.
There can be a lot of pressure attached to the idea of studying. A lot of people find it hard to find a studying method that works for them. Sometimes, even when you put in the work, you do not seem to be getting the results. Many of us ingest gallons of coffee to pull off all-nighters. We all know it is not the best method. Yet we all keep doing it.
So what is the best method for studying? How do you study smarter and not necessarily harder? How do you still find the time to do things you enjoy (if you love studying then it’s a win-win for you!)? Here are some tips on how much you should be studying, and more importantly, how to make those studying hours more efficient.
Finding Out What Kind of Learner You Are
I hate to break it to you but reading the textbook over and over again (and highlighting everything) is not the best way to go. If you want to learn efficiently and study smarter, you have to figure out what your learning style is.
Although there are quite a few different learning styles, here are some of the most common ones:
- Visual (Spatial) - Those that learn best when they have an image or cue to help them process the information. They may also need to write their thoughts to process what they are thinking about.
- Aural - Used to classify those who primarily respond to sound. Most musicians are aural learners (not so surprising though, is it?)!
- Physical (Kinesthetic) - Such people learn best by going through the motions of what they are learning.
- Social (Interpersonal) - These individuals like to work in teams and ask their peers for feedback in order to learn.
- Solitary (Intrapersonal) - For individuals who prefer to learn on their own and keep to themselves.
Take this quiz to find out more about what kind of learner you are (you might be surprised!)
Different learning styles need different tools to optimise their learning. For example, if you are a visual learner, making mind maps can be a great way to learn the content.
How To Manage Your Time Efficiently
Studying for 4 hours is not very efficient if you spend more than half it on social media. In order to study effectively, you need to use time management skills.
Here are a few ideas on how to do this:
- Use an academic planner - This helps you stay organised and on top of your assignments. You can also use it to plan out your day and schedule your revision sessions.
- Make a priority list - This helps to figure out which topics you are struggling with the most so you can work on them before moving on to easier topics.
- Short-term study goals - Creating short-term goals in your mind can help to build your momentum. For example, it could be doing really well on a test. Once you have achieved this, it will motivate you to do even better.
- Avoid multitasking - Unfortunately, most of us are not very good at multitasking. Especially when it comes to studying, you should try to avoid it altogether as it makes studying highly inefficient. It also prevents a mental drain over time.
- Avoid distractions - Finding a distraction-free environment helps you focus more as well as improving your retention.
Know That Your Brain Has Its Limits
Let’s be honest, burning yourself out will not get you anywhere. You have to understand that your brain, simply like any other machine, has its limits. If you do not give it enough time to rest, it will feel fried. Studying when your brain feels this way will not be very efficient as you are less likely to retain much more information.
Take a little break and then come back to studying!
Quality Over Quantity
It’s really not about how much time you spend studying. Sitting at your desk from 6pm - 10pm means nothing if you are simply staring at the clock, counting down the seconds the entire time.
Have a revision list before you start and get through as much of it as possible (ideally all of it!). Do what you need to do, no matter how long it takes. It is not about how fast you study but rather the quality of your studying. Speed reading a page will take you less time but if you didn’t retain any information, is it really worth it?
Take your time. Make notes on what you are reading. Highlight key information. Look up what you don’t understand (or post it here on ExamQA!). THAT is real studying.
Make a Timetable For Studying
Before you even start studying, make a timetable of what you want to study. For example, if you are planning to study on a Saturday then make a schedule the day before. This helps you to wake up with the mindset of studying rather than you staying in bed scrolling through social media for hours (seriously, don’t do that).
Remember to schedule an adequate amount that you spend studying with sufficient breaks.
Some individuals like to use the Pomodoro Technique when studying. It involves studying for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. After four 25-minute work periods, you take a half-hour to an hour break. It helps you stay focused for set amounts of time whilst also giving your brain some time to rest.
Try out this fun studying technique here: https://tomato-timer.com
Studying In-Between Classes
One of the best pieces of advice that I can give personally is to studying in-between your classes. Yes, I know it is tempting to just sit and talk to your friends for an hour before you drag yourself to the next class. But would that help you in the long run? Absolutely not!
Remember that there is always work to do (even if you think you don't). Especially if you are in school or at university, you will be surrounded by all your teachers and lecturers. Take advantage of this! Make good use of this by going to them with any questions or doubts that you may have. Ask your peers for help if you missed any classes or you need help catching up.
Another thing you could do during this time is read ahead! You might not have any assignments due so you can use this time to pre-read the topic before you go to class. And don't just simply read it! Make notes on what you read and write down a list of questions or things that you did not understand. Now when you go to the lecture, you will already know what things you had trouble understanding so you can actively seek answers for those problems.
Make full use of this time. Find a quiet place to study and get your work done (seriously, get it done). Use this time to your advantage. It will genuinely reduce the amount of work you will have to do later on. Believe me, your future self will thank you for this.
Is Studying Too Much Healthy?
Have you ever come across someone who complains about how they study for hours on a stretch and yet, they do not seem to be getting the grades? This brings us on to the oh-so-important point of whether too much studying is healthy or not.
Remember, both physical and mental health is more important than grades. Yes, it is important to achieve your full academic potential. But it is also important to look after your health. Pulling all-nighters or giving up on everything else that you enjoy doing will not do you any good. It might even make you hate studying (and we certainly don’t want that now do we?).
As a student, remember to eat three meals a day and get a good amount of sleep. Stay in touch with your family and friends. Put some time aside everyday to do something that you enjoy.
Your teachers can tell you all about how many hours you should be studying. But eventually it all comes down to you.
As you've seen above, we at ExamQA have included a rough guide for how many hours per day you should spend studying depending on your year.
If you're year 11 - 13, your GCSEs and A-Levels are extremely important. These times may not be enough to cover everything that is needed. All we can say to motivate you is that these qualifications are really important to your futures and studying 8-9 hours a day may sound like a mammoth-of-a-task but top students do go to these lengths (especially closer to exams).
Find out what kind of learner you are to optimise your learning. Make timetables before you start studying. Know when your brain has reached its limit. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthy. Take breaks so you don’t burn yourself out. And remember to do other things you enjoy.
And that was my two cents on how many hours a day you should be studying. Now go study (yes, NOW). Have fun!
Make sure to have a look at our other articles on a range of other interesting topics and much more here: https://examqa.com/articles/
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