We are sure you’ve heard of all the differences in college. From living on your own, likely in a new city, with new people, new professors, and new expectations. However, what remains the same, is the importance of studying. In most cases, you must continue or enhance your study patterns of high school that helped you get to college in the first place. This can be a challenging task since college can be an exciting place to party, watch sports, or hang out with friends. Although these are great aspects of college that make it unique to your prior education experience. To be able to successfully get in all of your study hours in college, you must recognize when these things become distractions.
How Should I Study?
How much do you study in college versus high school? The methods are pretty similar and below are some of the most effective ways we encourage you to embrace when studying.
Use a planner
Using a planner in college is essential for studying. Although this tool may at first be seen as only an organizational device, its purpose can serve you from a studying perspective as well. In college, it can be easy to lose track of time in the library and accidentally focus too much time on a specific assignment or class while disregarding another. A planner will help you segment off time and energy for each class so you can find the most productivity in your amount of study time.
Set long-term goals
Set long-term study goals for yourself in college. What overall grade do you want to receive in the class? How will what you do today help you get there? By paying attention to these goals you can set your mind on something to work towards during a seemingly long semester. It will also keep you motivated and focused when studying so you can spend your hours of work in an intentional manner that helps you achieve your long-term aspirations for that class.
Set short-term goals
In addition to long-term goals, setting short term goals in terms of studying is just as effective. For instance, ask yourself; how do I want to score on that quiz next Tuesday? Then transition your energy to studying for that content that will be covered on that assignment rather than what’s been introduced to the course as a whole. Finally, short-term goals offer more instant gratification than long-term goals do, so the enthusiasm to achieve them should be a great motivating factor to take advantage of. These short-term goals can also be seen as stepping stones to achieving your long-term goals for the class if that perspective is more appealing to you.
Find a study buddy
In college, your social life is often a large part of your identity. Embrace this connection with friends when studying by creating a study group or finding a study buddy. This collaboration will improve both of your understandings while not letting you feel like you are missing out socially when taking time out of your day to study. Furthermore, study buddies can compare notes, ideas, and questions that lead to a more in-depth understanding of the course’s content than if you were left with just your perspective when working.
How Many Hours a Day Should I Study in College?
For every hour spent in class that week, it is suggested that college students spend double that studying and mastering that information. For example, if you sit in a math class for an hour three days a week, it is recommended that you spend an additional six hours working on that material during the week- be it homework, reviewing notes, or getting a tutor. Regardless, you should understand this correlation between class time and student learning.
Each class and school is different, but in general, the above rule applies. Some prestigious schools require you to spend even more time each day on the material when less competitive schools don’t have such a rigorous commitment needed. Considering this information before accepting your admission to a college is wise since you can personally gauge how much time if required compared to how much time you are willing to put into a daily routine.
Furthermore, hours aren’t always the best way to weigh how much effort you have put into a course. For instance, some students can spend hours and hours in a library studying with friends, but get distracted and achieve little; this is a common problem in college. Being aware of your productivity and efficiency is a better way to set aside time each day to study in college.
How Many Hours a Day Do Top Students Study?
Top students often exceed the suggested study time for an average student, hence their superior grades. Something that usually separates top students from the rest of the class is their ability and willingness to make sacrifices for their academics. Top students are usually very focused on their grades and are therefore less likely to cave to peer pressure and go to a party on the weekends if they have a test the next week. It’s not that other students don’t give up opportunities to enhance their grades, but top students do it consistently enough for them to earn that top spot.
How to be a top student
If you are hoping to become a top student yourself, then look for ways that you can either study more or study more productively. There isn’t an exact formula to follow or anything to get the top grades in the class, and each top student likely has a study schedule that they have found to work best for them. Hours wise, try to give at least double the amount of time you spend in each class outside of the classroom to review and master the material. This way, you will be better off than the majority of the class that is sticking to the standard double-time suggestion.
Does Studying Everyday Effective?
Studying, like most things in life, is best in moderation. It is essential in a college setting to be successful academically. However, there is such a thing as too much studying. Most college students already have a grasp of what amount of studying works best for them based on their high school experience. However, for others, college can be a time where they re-evaluate their past methods of studying.
For instance, weekends can be a time where procrastinating students can find themselves in the library for hours on end. These long days often lead to overload and frustration as students miss out on time with their friends as they frantically try to compact information into their brains.
This common situation can be avoided if students study, maybe not every day, but most days. This will lessen your end-of-the-week workload and contribute to an even absorption of information instead of a stressful experience at the end. Most students find themselves studying each day of the week, but perhaps for different subjects each day.
So, is 6 hours a day too much? For some, yes, others, no. There is a multitude of ways to spit up your work throughout the week; maybe it’s every day, maybe it’s every other day…it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you.
5 Factors that Affect Hours of Studying
Your specific college or university influences your hours of studying. As stated above, to rank in a similar position in a competitive college as a lower-tier school, your study hours are going to look very different. In other words, a 3.0 at Harvard requires more study hours than a 3.0 at a State school. You should weigh how much time you are willing to pour into studying each day when deciding what college you will go to so you fit into what that school expects of you to achieve a specific mark.
The classes you take also have very different study hour requirements. Electives are usually easier to score better in after 5 hours of studying a week than a math or science class at the same time spent studying. Understanding that each class counts towards your GPA at the same weight is also noteworthy and an encouraging factor to split up your study hours proportionally to the difficulty of each class in college. This will help you manage your study hours the best while establishing a routine that meets the demands of each course’s workload.
In college specifically, friends are an enhanced aspect of studying since you are often living with them. Friends can be great study buddies since they can enhance your understanding of a topic or subject through discussion and collaboration. In this case, friends can cut down your needed study hours since they improve the productivity of your hours spent studying. However, they can also be a distraction that prolongs your study hours since there is less work done and more laughing, gossiping, and planning than actual studying.
Weekends dramatically influence study hours. In college, weekends typically go one of two ways…they eliminate study hours or increase them significantly. No class marks a break for students to unwind and destress from a working week that many students take full advantage of by partying and hanging out with friends. Some of these students got all of their work done Monday-Friday while others simply disregard their academic responsibilities on Saturdays and Sundays when that break isn’t necessarily deserved. The other case is utilized by students who have procrastinated throughout the week and find themselves neck-deep in work for the weekend.
These two extremes, being partying and cramming, are popular on college campuses, but the best way to combat falling into one of these patterns is to maintain a schedule throughout the week that allows you to take a healthy break for part of the weekend.
Some college students fall into a competitive mindset when studying. This is most common when a student is aiming for specific class rank. Like an athlete trains to win a race, instead of running for a specific time, some students study to score higher than their peers rather than for a grade. This can be good in the sense that it is a motivating factor to study. However, this sense of competition requires more hours spent studying.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Hours Should I Study in College?
Studying in college is different than studying for high school classes and being prepared for the transition will help it be a lot smoother. Your outside distractions and commitments will likely become enhanced so developing a study plan and sticking to it throughout the year will help you get good grades. In college, the standard suggestion is to study double the time spent in class for each course, and more than that if you are aiming to be a top student. Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, but we hope that this guide laid out a few methods to navigate your college study habits.
Did you enjoy this post? If so, check out our other college study tips here.
Here are a few to help you out:
> How to Be a Successful Student: 25 Tips
> How to Study Effectively for Long Hours
> How to Study Smart: 33 Tips and Techniques