How many hours should my child be studying?

We often get asked by parents (rather than students though there are a few exceptions to this) how many hours should my child be studying and how much work should they be doing every day?  No doubt if you are reading this BLOG you too want to be sure that your child is doing what they should be too?

The answer to this question will be different for everyone, because it’s not just a matter of how long a student studies – it’s also how effectively they study.

Most guides that you will find tend to focus on doing a set number of hours per week according to the year level a student is in ie Year 7 (7 hours), Year 8 (8 hours) up to Year 12 (12 hours).   It will also depend upon a students long term goals and their extra curricular activities.  For some students in the senior years they may increase the hours spent and in Year 12 might do in excess of 20+ hours a week. It will therefore be different for each student.

Organising Students -how-many-hours-should-my-child-be-studying - image of two students at a desk doing homeworkIn our experience, rather than focus on how long a student spends completing their school work or studying/revising it should actually be about ‘what they are doing or have done‘.  The reason for this is that students can say they have been working for 1-2 hours when in actual fact there is no doubt that a percentage of that time they have not been focused and may have been either procrastinating or getting distracted and actually didn’t do very much.

The amount of time a student spends is actually not that important.  What a student’s focus should be on is actually ‘what do I need to do‘ or ‘what do I want to achieve today?’

For students to achieve what they should be doing they need to have a plan and know what they need to get done each day – this could be a to do list, task list or a set of outcomes they would like to complete.  In other words a student (and parents) need to shift their thinking away from having a time focus to having an outcome focus.

Organising students - how many-hours-should-my-child-be-studying - image of a student sitting at a deskOur advice is to focus on the quality of the study (output) over the quantity (time spent studying).  Many schools and others will tell you a rough number of hours a student should be doing each night and we usually say to use these as a guide rather than insist a child does this.  Another important point is to remember that all students are different in their ability to focus as well as their ability academically too.

We do encourage all our students, particularly senior students, to include on their plan, both their necessary course work as well as time on study and revision, across all their subjects.  We also highly recommend that all students should be putting this effort in across the year and not just when preparing for  tests, assessments, SACs or exams.  Unfortunately this is the area we see many students struggle as they don’t know how or what they should be doing. If they are not sure then we suggest they ask their teachers for advice.  In the work we do 1:1 with students we focus on equipping them with the skills they need to be independent when it comes to study and revision.

One important tip for students is that they should be at a minimum reading over and adding to their course notes each week.  Too many students only do this when about to be tested and by then the information hasn’t always had the opportunity to be consolidated in their long term memory.

The other perspective to keep in mind for all students is that a balanced approach is also important for mental health and well being – a student is not going to be effective if all they are doing is studying for long hours and nothing else.

In summary, the important thing is for students to develop a plan of study and revision that suits them and that they learn to study effectively.

For more information or to learn more about our services please do get in touch!