Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Hours Allotted for Study

  1. Aug 17, 2006 #1
    Hi, like many who have recently posted in this forum, I will be entering my first semester of college this fall. I will be majoring in electrical engineering. Here is a list of the classes I'll be taking this coming semester:

    Honors American Public Policy (3 hours + 1.5 hour discussion)
    Honors Calculus II (3 hours)
    Modern Digital System Design (3 hours)
    Introdution to Electrical and Computer Engineering (3 hours)

    Yes, I'm only taking four classes this first semester. I did this so that I can ease into the curriculum without becoming too discouraged. My concern is the amount of hours I'll need to study (No, I'm not afraid of studying and have done my share so far).

    Here is a schedule I've come up with to help me measure how much time I'll be spending in class, studying, and how much free time I'll have (I know that I probably won't stick to it 100%, but it will at least help me gauge how close to on-track I am :cool: ):
    http://mlowery.net/2006_Fall_Schedule.pdf" [Broken]

    After looking at my schedule, I calculated that on week-days I'll have about 30 hours to study. But I think that I'll only be about 70% efficient - so that comes out to be more like 20-21 hours of solid study. For those of you who are currently in college or have since graduated, on average about how many hours did you study per week? Have I allotted myself enough time? (Notice I have left the week-ends completely free). Is there anything in this schedule that you think should be altered?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I strongly doubt you'll actually be able to keep your weekends free.

    I also suggest that, instead of planning for a certain number of hours per week, you concentrate most on making effective use of your time.

    I often had 2-3 hour breaks between classes, and I mostly spent them tucked away in a nice corner of the student union building, catching up on my homework. It's actually much easier to study in a location where other people are studying, and where you do not have the temptation to get on a computer or turn on the TV.

    I also studied electrical engineering, and often found I could do my homework mostly just during these kinds of breaks. That, plus studying a few hours each evening, was plenty for me. Weekends were usually used for catch-up when necessary.

    - Warren
  4. Aug 20, 2006 #3
    I am definately not expecting to keep my week-ends completely free. However, I would like to keep Saturdays free and preferably Friday nights as well. I just didn't schedule anything for the week-end so that any additional studying I do on the week-end will be on top of the 20 hours during the week I studied.

    Yes, my plan is to study in between classes. This semester, my classes are in a block. But I have plenty of time before and after to study and during lunch. I just didn't know if that would be ample. I have heard that I should plan to study 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour in class, and I expect that even more is needed for engineering courses. That is what has gotten me a little bit on the . . . anxious . . . side.

    I plan on studying in the Library because of the atmosphere, plenty of desk space, plus I won't have to pay for the air conditioning :smile: .

    Basically, I'm just looking for a little feed-back from people who are going through or have been through what I am starting. Maybe some strategies or pointers on how to get through engineering school, how to succeed in it , or whatever else might help.

  5. Aug 20, 2006 #4
    Man are you lucky, it looks like your engineering classes are only 50 minutes! For most of my EE classes, they were an hour and a half two times a week! Just like the classes on your Tuesday's and Thursday's. :yuck: After the first hour, I always lose the ability to fully absorb the material.

    If you truly study for 30 hours (20/21 is reasonable, too) then you should be OK during non-test weeks. Sometimes your HW's will be a bit longer than that (Control Systems HW's took like 15 hours each!). When you have an upcoming exam, use your weekends very carefully.

    Also, your schedule might not work out every week because sometimes you'll need to see a professor for office hours. I can't tell you how many times I visited office hours during the first 3 years of college. :rofl:
  6. Aug 20, 2006 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I had a professor who recommended about 3 hrs of study, including homework, for each hour in class (which is approximately each credit hour). In actuality, it was more like 2-3 hrs per class hour depending on the class.
  7. Aug 20, 2006 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Here, we usually give the rule of thumb, "two hours outside class for each hour in class." A normal load here is fifteen or sixteen semester hours, which translates to 45-48 hours total per week. Correct this a bit because an "hour" in class is actually 50 minutes, and you're in the area of 40 hours per week total, the equivalent of a full-time job.
  8. Aug 20, 2006 #7
    Wow, thanks for the input guys (although I had to wait a while for the forums to come back up :rolleyes: . . . j/k, the guys at PF do a great job). I am not planning on "counting hours", I just wanted the heads up from a few people who have been through it (more is always welcome). I'm sure I'll be fine, and hopefully I'll enjoy some of it.

    Thanks very much,
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook