How Much Should a College Student Study?

Have you been wondering how much a college student should study? Some studies have found that almost a third of college students don’t even know how to properly study, let alone how much is needed. That’s why we at CaptureApps wanted to share a few thoughts on how much and how you should study.

Transition from High School to College

If you’re making the transition from high school to college, you may not realize how different your days of studying should be. The structures are different, and your journey through higher education is a preparation for how life really works. That is, you will set your own budgets for activities, without a rigid structure you had through your formative years. College schedules are the antithesis of high school. High school seniors are now studying less than 6 hours on average a week. In college, rather than 8 hours a day in class with an hour of homework, you’ll have 4 hours of class and no specific amount of homework. You must independently budget time outside of class to complete assignments and study for exams.

In addition, you have new distractions when you arrive on campus…like extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs, social events and internships. You may also face old ones like video games.

Study Schedule

As we have urged in several previous blog posts, you must set aside time to study. Studying is a critical habit that builds motivation and discipline, while helping understanding of course material. With all the activities outside the classroom, you need to develop a routine. It’s challenging not to study on a regular pattern, but you should…


How Much Should a College Student Study?
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


How Many Study Hours Are Needed?

Surveys show that the average students only spends about 15 hours per week studying (hint: probably not enough!). How much time you need to spend studying depends on the classes you take. A base rule is to spend two hours per week studying for each credit hour. For example, for a four hour credit, you need eight hours of studying, including review, reading, projects and homework. Note, this is just a benchmark – you should see how it works for you. Doing the math, you may be in class 3 hours and study an additional 6 each day. Or you could spend part of your weekend reviewing. If you have an activity course (e.g., art, architecture, music) you may find that a great deal of time is doing the activity. Other courses will include a combination of reading, writing, and projects.

If you have good study and reading skills, you may be able to reduce your time, and amounts will fluctuate week to week (e.g., before and after tests). Consider the challenge level of courses and the effort your teachers indicate. If you can study less and make good grades, good for you. If you study this much and make poor grades, add!


Quick Tips to Help Your Studying

Manage Your Social Life

Consider this: about 1 in 4 college students report academic issues (e.g., missing class, falling behind, receiving lower grades) from drinking. Plan your party time.

Improve Your Reading

Focus on one paragraph at a time. If you read a confusing sentence, do not reread it by itself – read it in context. If necessary, reread a paragraph and look up unfamiliar terms.

Take Reading Notes

After reading a chapter, summarize what you’ve read.

Do Daily Reviews

Conduct end-of-day reviews to summarize and determine whether you understand what you’ve learned.

Skip Cramming

We’ve said it before but cramming creates too much stress. You’re better off learning early and getting enough sleep the night before your test.

Iterate Your Studying

Learn from your mistakes. Research has shown that reviewing mistakes enables you to perform better in the future.


How Much Should a College Student Study?

Rates vary based on skills and course difficulty. Start with a 2-to-1 ratio and see how it works. Optimize using our ideas on getting better (e.g., if you can read faster with better comprehension, you save time). Balance your life, but don’t over-invest in partying or extra-curricular activities. It all adds up to making better grades with the right amount of effort.



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