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How Many Hours a Day Do You Have to Study for College Classes?

by Van Thompson, Demand Media

    College freshmen who spent most of the day in classes during high school are often relieved to see how little time they spend in the classroom in college. But while college means spending less time working under the supervision of a professor, it also means more independent work outside of class. The amount of time you'll spend studying varies with your working speed, your course load and your ability to comprehend the course materials, but you can generally expect to spend at least as much time studying as you spend in class.

    Hours per Day

    You can generally expect to spend, at minimum, as much time studying as you spend in class. But most students will spend even more time studying. The University of Michigan-Flint recommends that students spend two to three hours studying for every course hour in which they are enrolled. So if you are taking 15 hours of courses per week, you can expect to spend 30 to 45 hours per week studying, or about six to nine hours each weekday.

    Reading Speed

    Your reading speed is a major factor in predicting how long you'll spend studying each day. Reading is a major part of most college students' workload, but fast readers may be able to get away with only an hour or so of work each day per class. If you're a slow reader, however, your time spent studying can double or even triple. Classes that teach reading skills can help you master reading more quickly without compromising your ability to take in information.

    Special Projects

    Your time spent per class won't be the same each day or week. If you have a special project, a paper or a major test in a class, you'll likely need to spend more time on that class for a week or two. Work-intensive classes, such as classes that require many papers, labs or weekly projects, will eat up more of your time. If you're taking a work-intensive class, you might want to reduce your class load for the semester.

    Class Attendance

    It can be tough to drag yourself out of bed after a long night of studying, but regular class attendance and participation can reduce your studying time. Professors may review material that's not in the book during class, and they may offer strategies for mastering the material that you wouldn't figure out on your own. Particularly if you learn well by listening, discussing or taking notes, class attendance can be a powerful key for reducing your workload.

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    About the Author

    Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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