2 answers

On average how much time should a college student set aside to use to study for exams per week?

Asked Havertown, Pennsylvania

2 answers

Paul’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

That's a difficult question to answer because it depends upon a number of factors. For starters, do you consider the course to be difficult or somewhat easy? For example, if you are an English major and you're weak in math you may spend more hours studying for your Pre-Calculus exam than your English II exam. If you're a Biology major perhaps you could spend very little time preparing for the Biology I exam but spend an unlimited number of hours preparing for Accounting.

There's also your strength's and weaknesses. Are you good with numbers? If so, maybe you won't need to study long for your statistics, algebra and accounting classes. If not, then you'll find these courses difficult so their exams will require more preparation time.

Also, there's the professor's teaching style that has to be taken into consideration. You could have 2-3 different professors teaching the same course and using the same text book but each of them has a unique way of presenting the material. One professor may dislike giving out A grades so they make the class difficult so you in turn study harder for their exam. Another professor may be really laid back and you may not find their course difficult at all so you spend less time preparing for their exam. Yet another professor may not give an exam and will instead focus on research papers and group projects so there's no exam to study for.

So your major, strengths or weaknesses, and the professor will have an influence on how long you study for your exams.

Frank’s Answer

Updated Santa Clara, California

Hi Christopher,

This is a hard question to provide a "one size fits all" answer! First of all, let's put a stake in the ground: Taking time to study is far better for yielding pleasing results than not studying! (obvious, huh?)

It's really going to depend on the following factors:

1) How difficult is the class to master? Does the subject need practice to become confident and proficient at? If "Hard" and "Yes" are the answers, then at least an hour two to three times a week seems a likely approach to me. Better yet, for complex math, physics, and science classes - small group study opportunities, once a week, are really good (such a small group helped me survive Calculus ;-)

2) Does the material require memorization or practice to perform? You can't play a symphony without learning and practicing the music. Likewise with History, Math & Sciences, and courses where you'll be tested on content and skills. For example, learning and practicing a new language will require at least one to three hours of study and practice per week.

3) How often will you be tested for the class? If more often than "just mid-terms and finals", then better be prepared to put in at least one to two hours between tests for proper preparation!

Is it possible to succeed without studying for exams? I know there are some amazing students out there that can do it, but I wasn't one, and most of the students I've seen require study periods to reinforce learning, become proficient in subjects, and pass exams. So, unless you're one of those "unique few", I'd suggest planning on setting aside and using routine study periods during the week for your own benefit!