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Master Time Management

Estimate your study time

How much time do you need as a full-time university student? The University of Guelph's Academic Calendar suggests that students should spend 10-12 hours per week for every 0.50 credit course. For most full-time students, that equals 50-60 hours of study time per week! 

 If 60 hours per week seems high to you, you're not alone. Your own study time will depend on many factors, such as

  • your familiarity with the subjects you're studying
  • your interest level in your courses
  • your preferences for how quickly or slowly you read, write, and complete assignments
  • your academic goals
  • other commitments and priorities, such as work and family

How much time do you need to study?

Although relatively few students spend 60 hours each week on their courses, most full-time students spend 30-50 hours per week on their courses, with less time spent at the beginning of the semester and more time spent before midterms, exams and project deadlines.

Follow the steps below to find out how much time you have to study, how much time you need, and what to do if you don't have enough time.

Step 1: Figure out how much time you have

  1. Download our Excel Weekly Schedule or watch our video, Six Easy Steps to Conquer Your Calendar.
  2. Record the time each week you spend on regularly scheduled activities that you must do at specific times, such as attending livestreamed lectures or going to work. 
  3. Record the time each week that you usually spend on activities that often happen at regular times. These activities may include:
    • sleeping
    • eating, including meal preparation and clean-up
    • personal hygiene, such as showering
    • exercise
  4. Include other activities that you do regularly. If the time spent on these activities changes day by day, put in your best estimate. For example, block off time for
    • housework, including laundry and grocery shopping
    • family 
    • volunteering
    • friends
    • appointments
  5. Include 1-2 hours every day as unscheduled "flex time" to account for unexpected events or projects that take longer than planned. Some people find that their flex time motivates them to get their work done on time so that they can use flex time for fun or relaxation.
  6. How much time do you have left? This will give you a good idea of your study time. You may have close to the 50-60 hours mentioned above, or you may have much less time. 

Step 2: Figure out how much time you need

  1. List your courses. Rank each course low, medium, or high based on how difficult you perceive it to be.
  2. Assign 12 points (12 hours) to each course ranked high.
  3. Assign 9 points to each course ranked medium.
  4. Assign 6 points to each course ranked low.
  5. Add up your points. Your total number of points is the approximate number of hours you should spend on your courses each week.

Step 3: Do you have enough time?

Look at your final numbers from Step 1 and Step 2. 

  • If you have a higher number in Step 1, that's great! It looks like you should have enough time to do the work you need to do for your courses.
  • If you have a higher number in Step 2, it might be challenging to find the time needed for your coursework.

Step 4: Not enough time?

Here are some ways to manage:


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