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For How Many Hours Should I Study? A Guide to Effective Exam Prep

Team StoryWeavers|March 25, 2022, 12:00 IST|

Illustration of a child studying sitting in front of a schedule and a clock

Summer is here and with it comes exam season. It’s that time of year when students and teachers alike are looking to finish the final stretch of the academic year quickly and smoothly.

But in order to do well in that final stretch, it’s important to schedule some serious study time into your daily routine. This brings us to one of the most common questions students have — How many hours should I study for?

It’s a tricky question because there is no one size fits all approach. There is no magic number of hours of study that will guarantee you do well in your exams. Because, as we all know, it’s not about how long you study but how effectively you study. Some can cover in two hours that which can take four hours for someone else, and both are fine. It’s about maximising your efficiency and understanding in the time you have.

Let’s take a look at some things you can do to make your study time more productive and effective.

Figure out a schedule

Planning a daily schedule is more than just putting down what you think you should do. Think very realistically about how much time you can spare in your day to study without compromising on physical activities or schoolwork. Plan it according to what works best for you and your learning speed. If you need one hour to go through half a chapter thoroughly, then pencil in two hours for your study time.

Break it down

We have a tendency to panic when we look at all the lessons that need to be covered and it seems impossible to finish. But it’s important to stay calm and remind ourselves that we can do this if we just break it down into small, doable steps. For example, if you have 10 lessons in Geography that you need to complete, you could do one lesson a day and break it up across 10 days. You can also alternate which subjects you study every day so as to not make it boring.

Break time

It’s important to factor breaks into your schedule. They act as great motivators and let your brain process the information properly without tiring you out. For every 30 minutes or hour, you can put in a 10-minute break. And in this break, make sure you move around, stretch, and try not to look at a screen so that your eyes get a break as well.

Treat yourself

We all tend to daydream or lose focus after a few minutes of studying, and that’s normal. To minimise that, think of what can motivate you to stay focused. Tell yourself you can play your favourite game for 15 minutes if you finish that chapter in the next hour and can answer the questions at the end. You could also indulge in a piece of chocolate after every lesson or establish a similar rewards system for yourself. It’s easier to work through something you may not be completely interested in if you have a reward at the end of it.

Don’t compare yourself to others

The most important thing is to not compare yourself to others. If the class topper is studying for eight hours a day, it doesn’t mean that the same applies to you. Everybody learns differently and the only way you can guarantee good grades is if you do what’s best for you and not what works for someone else.

Everyone studies differently. What has worked well for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Read everything exam-related in one place: 

Why Relaxation is Important for Students to Excel in Exams

Will I pass my exam? How to prevent panic before exams

Want to Prepare for IAS? Here’s How You Can Start Early

About the Author


Madhavi is passionate about everything to do with books, art, literature, films, trivia and food. A former journalist, she believes that asking questions makes life interesting.

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