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How long do you guys study physics / week?

  1. Sep 9, 2009 #1
    Hey guys i've started physics a few weeks ago and it seems like I have to study like 3 hours a day to keep up with the class and the material. How long do you guys study / week?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2009 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Pfftt. When I was in undergrad, I studied about 60 hours per week outside of class. When I was working at a startup, I worked 60-90 hour weeks. Now it's down to a more regular 40 hours a week. 3 hours a day?...
  4. Sep 10, 2009 #3
    In my undergrad I mucked about a lot, studied about 10 hours on top of classes
  5. Sep 10, 2009 #4
    This will be different for lots of people. Basically you have to consider your time at Uni as your job and treat it as such. That means at least an 8 hour day, so if your lectures take up 5 hours/day then you owe at least another three in the evening....outrageous huh???

    During my undergrad years I was perpetually skint so had to take a part-time job which ate into that a lot, so the course was twice as tough. As Zapper says, if you want to progress in Physics you have to try and get the best grade possible at undergrad (1st class honours) and that means living and breathing the damn stuff.

    Some dudes are lucky though and can sponge material using osmosis or something without too much effort. You sound like me though, a "hard gainer" and you'll have to study your arse off to get anywhere.
  6. Sep 10, 2009 #5
    I think he's talking about only one Physics course. And since he says "i've started physics" i'm assuming he's doing kicking off with Mechanics now. In that case 2x the lecture time usually does it (i'm excluding homework and labwriteup time btw, if you have any).
  7. Sep 10, 2009 #6
    I study on average about 8hrs a day, that is not including class time.

    Lab work.. I underestimated the amount of time it took to write up a physics lab. I'll never make that mistake again.
  8. Sep 10, 2009 #7
    You can't have had more than a few hours of class every day?
  9. Sep 10, 2009 #8
    you ARE joking right? i'm applying for undergrad at the moment and that post is ...0.0, and the other guy that said 8 hours a day?!?

    surely not lol
  10. Sep 10, 2009 #9
    As has been stated it really depends on the person. I didn't study physics at all outside of class (and I rarely actually went to class). I started practically every assignment the night before and gave myself maybe two days before midterms and finals to study up (and yes I did a whole lot of all-nighters). My marks weren't stellar but I basically got into the grad school of my choosing. So, different strokes for different folks I guess. When people say they study 8 hours a day I honestly have no idea what they do. I went into most of my tests having read all the pertinent chapters of our textbook and having done all the practice problems at the end of the sections and such and that takes me like a single 10-12 hour alotment. I guess they read other textbooks on the subject and such or something?
  11. Sep 10, 2009 #10


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    8 hours/day is not unreasonable. It is common for people to put this much time and more into their school work. If you can do it in less time, good for you, but that's no reason to laugh at those who work hard.
  12. Sep 10, 2009 #11


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    During my undergrad program, a professor told us that he estimated about 3 hrs of study for each hour of lecture, and that probably included some homework. For the upper level classes, some homework problems would take 1 or more hrs to solve and do all the work, which might include programming.

    So if one took 16 hrs of classes, one might spend about 48 hrs of studying outside of class. On top of this, one might be doing research which could take 10-20 hrs/wk, and grad students might be teaching in addition to taking courses, doing their own homework, and working on a thesis or dissertation.

    3 hrs/day is on the light side.

    And certainly some students are bright and absorb the lecture material easily and quickly do the HW assignments. In one of my graduate math classes, one guy would should up with just the textbook, and he didn't take notes - he just listened. He received top marks on HW and tests.
  13. Sep 10, 2009 #12
    Yes, I study around 8 hours a day, not including weekends, as I study maybe two hour on Saturday and Sunday. I have to study this long. To some people they just get it, others it takes time. For me it is time, I had a really crappy introduction to all thing that relate with Math, so I have to take the extra time out to make sure that my math is correct. But this time also includes my other classes, not just my single physics class. So I don't think I am doing all that bad.

    I used to be able to just read it and get it, but after being out of school for a while. That ability has went up in smoke. Besides I would like really good grades, I plan to go to Grad School.

    As everyone else as stated, everyone is different.
  14. Sep 10, 2009 #13
    Not including time spent in class or working, I think I'm studying around 30 hours per week, taking 20 hours of all math and physics classes. But, that means that when you throw in class and work (20 hrs/week), I'm busy around 70 hours/week, which is a lot of time. It's a pretty busy schedule, but it still leaves enough time to party every weekend.
  15. Sep 10, 2009 #14
    sorry I didn't want to come off sounding like that but it trueley astounds me! i'm sure if it's the norm of people on this forum, who seem to me very intelligent indeed, i will be spending the same. i mean, 8 hours! normally i get home at 4pm from school (having had lessons all day) and go to sleep at 11-12 allowing for a MAXIMUM of around 4.5 hours given I have nothing else on that day....

    then i suppose at university you have lectures and maybe more 'free time' than in school?

    wow, this thread has really been a wake up call as to the true nature of university.
  16. Sep 10, 2009 #15
    4.5 hours of sleep? Don't you think that's a little less? I do 6 hours; either 10 PM - 4 AM or 11 PM - 5 AM...and i would recommend it.

    If you study on daily basis you can do less hours each day. Plus, it depends on the class you are taking. For instance, if you are doing multiple math and/or science/engineering courses you'll need to put more time. But if you have electives then you don't need to put as much time.

    In my first Mechanics course (which i assume what you are taking), our laboratory was computer based. All experiments (except two) were completed write on spot (i.e. we measured, we calculated and made an input in the computer). Not having to do lab writeups was a timesaver! However, we did online homework "Mastering Physics" (which many universities do, most likely yours as well) and we (i say "we" b/c i talked with my classmates on this) usually spend 4-10 hours on each week's homework. Apart from that i often read the entire chapter and tried worked out problems, gawd our professor was bad. Plus tried end of chapter problems...so that adds few more hours.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  17. Sep 10, 2009 #16
    I really don't study much...I'm constantly working though. I sink plenty of time into problem sets and labs. Not that much time though...Maybe an hour a day.
  18. Sep 11, 2009 #17
    I'm in 4th year physics and haven't had a weekend since April
  19. Sep 11, 2009 #18
    I'm usually at school about 8-9 hours a day and am either in class or studying during that time. I have 3 young children and am married, so I don't really get much done once I get home.
    I'd say that amounts to about 4 hours a day of studying.
    Before exams, I'll spend a good 12 hours studying that particular class.

    I have two kinds of studying...active studying and passive studying. I really can't imagine spending 60 hours a week doing "active" study.
    I consider active study the studying I do when I read through a chapter carefully, work through any examples, proofs or derivations they do step by step, and do all the recommended problems at the end of the chapter.
    When I do that seriously and focused, it really doesn't take that long. It doesn't take more than about 2-3 hours to get through a chapter in that manner. So, during the time I'm at school, I pretty much get all of that work out of the way in between classes. From that study time, there is little that the professor will discuss or put on the board that I don't already have a solid understanding of from my work beforehand.

    I constantly "passively" study. I rarely am sitting somewhere at home without a textbook next to me....but with 3 children aged 4 months to 4 years old, I can't really consider that any kind of legitimate study.
  20. Sep 11, 2009 #19
    If that's true, you are really godlike to me.
    My limit is 6 hours a day excluding the time of classes,working on HW and tutorial problems. On average I will spend about 4~5 hours studying outside classes.
  21. Sep 11, 2009 #20
    I know during the 2008-09 school year my schedule looked like this:

    Semester1: Linear Algebra, Intro to Proofs, Abstract Algebra, Programming in Mathematica, and Calc 3. I had to make a special request for the Abstract Algebra class as it isn't normally offered until you've had intro to proofs. I was coming into the class a couple of weeks late so I had to show I could handle it. I learned all (every bit of it) of the material for the Abstract Algebra course in two weeks and completed the first (take home) test in an hour and a half with a prefect score to prove I could catch up (granted the material was out of the pretty easy Dummit and Foote text).
    Semester 2: Abstract 2, Intro to Number theory, DiffEQ, Discrete Math, Honors English

    Most of my studying comes from homework. I usually don't forget anything that is covered in class, if I miss anything its usually some small detail that I have to dig up for the homework.

    For me, doing homework was enough to get all A's except for a B in Diff EQ. I wil say this though: I spend a great deal of my free time looking at interesting math. I find ebooks and read them and do problems. I learned how to do basic formal proofs by reading Quine's Methods of Logic by my own initiative. I tried to tackle some of Rudin while still in Calculus 1. I go to the library and get out books on any subject that sounds interesting and master at least the first couple chapters and go to other sources to get a good overview of why some subfield of math is important and how it developed historically. So while I may pick up new concepts quickly it is at least in part due to the effort I put into my own self studying. I will often refer to concepts that I already know in order to quickly gain understanding of new ideas.

    The great thing about learning mathematics at a certain level is that there is often a ton ideological overlapping so you can be extremely efficient.
  22. Sep 18, 2009 #21
    When I was in School I used to study like 4 hours physics everyday besides Mathematics and Chemistry. Now I'm studying electronics engg and i don't study at all... I teach maths and physics part time in a tuition centre in delhi called http://physics-study-centre.blogspot.com/" [Broken] centre.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  23. Nov 4, 2009 #22
    I study about 3 hours a day just on physics.... then I usually have about 5-6 hours of other homework to do so that leaves me with about 5-5.5 hours of sleep a night since I have lab till 4 Monday and Wednesday that means going to bed by about midnight to be up for class at about 6:30 am.
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