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How many hours a week do you study for engineering?

  1. Sep 30, 2013 #1
    I have heard 40-80 hours a week, can it really be 80 hours a week? that's nearly impossible if you have to commute for any long period of time...

    So I'd like to hear of your schedules, especially if you have attended UBC.

    Also, which years of engineering are the most difficult? does the time you have to invest and the difficulty differ from year to year?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2013 #2

    analogdesign

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    I found engineering school to be kind of logarithmic as far as the outcome/studying ratio went. What I mean by that is some people just did a few hours of studying a week and got Cs. Or you could study a couple of hours a night and get Bs. Or you could study about 25 hours a week on average (like I did) and get As. I treated it like a job. I studied a couple of hours through the day between classes (it is hard to really get into the flow between classes) and typically studied about 3 hours a night during the week and 6 hours or so on Sat and something like 4 hours on Sunday night (typically).

    Keep in mind that engineering students typically grossly overestimate the amount of time they study. They also count hanging out in the library talking with their friends as studying. A lot of people claimed to spend more hours studying than I did but I got the results. 20 - 25 hours a week should be plenty if you remain focused.

    I found the first year to be the hardest, frankly. I figured out the hard way that my high school hadn't prepared me properly in math and physics. I had to work really hard to catch up. It didn't get easy after that but it was more doable. Grad school was a whole other ball of wax...
     
  4. Oct 1, 2013 #3
    Thank you for the great post. You are really helping me believe in myself, engineering seems much more surmountable now.

    I am still preparing for an engineering program, do you have any advice related to that?

    Can you tell me more about your experience in Grad school? sounds quite interesting..

    You may have just changed my entire destiny! :D
     
  5. Oct 1, 2013 #4

    analogdesign

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    I'm so glad you are believing in yourself. I have no doubt you can do it. Just the fact that you are posting here is evidence you are putting in the thought that you will need to succeed.

    For preparing for an engineering program, review your math. That is where probably where 75% or problems crop up for students. You may understand a course conceptually, but if you're stumbling over the math, you won't get as good a grade.

    Graduate school was a unique experience. It was kind of like falling for years haha. Tons of work, an incredibly exciting and fascinating project, working 60 hours a week for $1500 a month. Not knowing if your project was even going to work... then the ecstasy when it finally DID! It was amazing and terrible.

    Financially an MS would have made more sense, but the fact is I am a much better engineer than I would have been if I hadn't have done the Ph.D.
     
  6. Oct 1, 2013 #5
    Asking engineering students how many hours they study per week is like asking men how many women they've slept with.
     
  7. Oct 1, 2013 #6
    I used to wonder this same type of thing, but eventually realized it is pointless. The problem is that different people learn at different speeds. While one person may have to study 10hrs to get an B on one exam, another person may only spend 2hrs and they get an A. Since we all absorb material at different speeds, it is pointless to try to gain a basis of comparison.

    Also, like analogdesign already stated, for some reason, students love to blow how much time they spend studying way out of proportion. Will you have to study a lot? Sure. Is it going to consume your life? Only if you are a below-average student. From what I've seen, most of the below-average students get filtered out early on, so for the most part, that isn't applicable.
     
  8. Oct 1, 2013 #7

    jasonRF

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    Agreed. I found that I had to study more than my friends for the same grade my first few semesters, but once my not-so-academic highschool background had worn off it was more even. Then there were the people that could very little work and get very high grades, or take massive overloads and be at the top of every curve.

    I found that the primary time I worked harder than most of my friends was for exams - I was perhaps more freaked out about them than my friends, which says more about my personality than about what is required.

    jason
     
  9. Oct 1, 2013 #8

    analogdesign

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    I don't think it's pointless. The OP was concerned that he or she wouldn't be able to handle the load because of the stories of "60-80 hours of studying a week". I think exploding that myth (it certainly isn't universal) has been very helpful.
     
  10. Oct 2, 2013 #9
    Agreed!
     
  11. Oct 4, 2013 #10

    jasonRF

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    This was a poorly written post by me. At the very least I should have specified that I was comparing myself to my engineering friends. I did work harder than pretty much all of my non-engineering friends, but engineers had to take significantly more credits than most other majors which was the primary driver of the increased workload. I think it was 142 semester credits instead of the standard 120, so it came down to 30 technical and 10 humanities/social science classes in 8 semesters.

    In any case 50-60 hours per week including class time was probably about right for me, although I knew quite a few engineering majors that studied less than I did and did fine.

    jason
     
  12. Oct 4, 2013 #11

    jasonRF

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    EDIT: just looked and the program I was in is now 133 credits, so it dropped a couple of classes in the requirements, which I think is not a bad thing. I suspect that when shopping for schools, the number of credits required *might* be a rough indicator of effort level required.
     
  13. Oct 5, 2013 #12
    I managed to squeeze in 148 credit hours with my EE degree and math minor. Although I did take an art course over the summer. My final semester was 8 classes so I could graduate on time ( I made some stupid class choices that didn't count for some trivial gen. ed requirement things that I had to make up final year.) And I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I had to skip classes in order take some tests scheduled at certain times. what a mess.

    but yes some stories of the 80 hour weeks are easily true... my engineering degree didn't start start that way... i'd say i went from studying/homework of maybe 30 hours /week as freshman to maybe 60 or more as junior/senior. definitely hit 80 senior year excluding class time.
     
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