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If you or someone you know is currently studying, how do you know what time commitments are expected? Tackle the expectations and realities of study time so you or your student can be prepared for study success!
“Going to university was slightly
challenging because I was first in
my family to do it, so no one knew
what the workload would be or
what was involved.” - Meg
While your loved ones may be supportive of your study goals, if
you’re the first in your family to study at university, they may have
some trouble understanding just how much time you need to spend
completing uni tasks in order to be successful.
If this happens, try not to feel frustrated. Remember, this is all new
to them too, so take some time to talk to your loved ones about their
expectations and the reality of how much time you will need
to spend studying.
The key to managing your loved one’s expectations and
maintaining a healthy study-life balance is communication.
Who knows, you might even have some questions about
the reality of uni study time yourself!
So, how much time does it really take
to be a successful uni student?
Amount of time required to study each course
• 3-4 hours/week per course
• Attend lectures and tutorials
and that’s it.
• 8-10 hours/week per course
• This time includes attending
lectures and tutorials,
completing set readings,
and assignment preparation.
While the amount of time you spend studying is ultimately up
to you, typically, you will be expected to spend between 8 and
10 hours each week studying for each course you’re enrolled in.
What you actually do during this time may differ between courses.
For example, you could spend time rereading your lecture notes,
reading set texts and researching supplementary information,
completing set activities or sharing your opinions and questions with
your classmates via USQStudyDesk.
Check out The Learning Centre to find out how you can access
academic support, and visit Social Hub to discover study tips and
• You can write a 2000 word
essay in a day, right?
• You should aim to spend at
least a month, yes, 4 weeks,
on each assignment.
While it may be possible to write 2000 words in a day, successful
uni students need to spend time researching and reading about the
assignment topic. In reality, this can take up to several weeks to
complete properly, before you even start writing ... and then
there’s the feedback and proofing stages!
While assignments might not seem like a big deal, they can make
up a large percentage of your overall grade for a course, so it’s
worthwhile spending the extra time to get it right.
Tip: Check out the assignment support and resources available from The Learning Centre
and the Library, then discover How to approach your first assignment.
• Who needs sleep the night
before an exam? Just cram!
• It’s important to prepare for
exams during semester as
well as in the lead up
While cramming for an exam the night before is a stereotype
of uni student life, it is much better for your own physical
and mental health to ensure you spread out your study load
throughout the semester.
If you have been spending the recommended 8-10 hours a week
studying for each course, you will already be in a great position to
face exams, but to increase your chances of success, you’ll still need
to put in extra hours of study beforehand to go over all of the course
material you’ve covered throughout the semester.
Study for exams can be stressful, so if you ever feel like you need to
chat to someone other than your family and friends, contact the team
at Student Services, who can give you the support you may need.
As you can see, studying at uni is likely to
keep you quite busy!
Knowing how much time study will take is the first step …
the second step is knowing how to communicate this to
your family and friends.
There may be times when your mum wants to you come over
for dinner or your friends want you to go out with them, but
you know you need to stay in, knuckle down and
tick some study goals off your to-do list.
While they may not understand this at first, take the time to
explain to your loved ones why you need to stay at home this
time, how much study you actually need to do, and ask
for their support.
“You feel guilty, but then you go,
hang on, I’m doing this so that we can
have a better life.” - Ros
It’s important to remember that you’re not in this alone and
that your workload can affect those around you.
If you feel stressed about how much you have to do at uni and would
like your family and friends to be more supportive, the first step is to
ask. Talking to them about how they can support you during busy
times will help them feeling involved, explain your potentially short
fuse and allow you some uninterrupted, guilt-free study time.
Being honest about how much time you need to spend studying and
communicating this clearly with your loved ones will ensure you are
supported throughout your study journey by the people who matter
most, your friends and family.