Hello and welcome to another episode of the smart student podcast with Dr. Ehoneah Obed your host. You are highly welcome. And if this is the first time you are listening to me, I am very grateful for listening. On this podcast, my aim is to train you to become a smart student and excel in your academics.
In today’s episode, I am talking about a particular question that has been on the mind of several students and I have had a number of students, especially my mentees, ask me. The question is how many hours in a day should I study if I want to become an excellent student? Or if I want to become a smart student?
Has that question ever crossed your mind? Have you ever asked yourself whether the number of hours you are studying could probably be the reason why you have not gotten to that level that you want to get to? Or could it be that you are spending very little or you are spending less of your time in your academics and you are eager to know what’s the actual number of hours.
Or do you even have a feeling that some people are spending way too much time learning and you are wondering why? Ok so in this episode we are going to address the issue of how many hours in a day should I study. This is a very good question anyway but there is not a straightforward answer to this question.
And I will explain why I say there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question.
When it comes to studying or the ability to study and understand. At the end of the day before your study, you have an end goal. And in a previous episode of the smart student podcast, we talked about goal setting in terms of your study.
So you have already set a goal for yourself in terms of your study. If you are coming to set a number of hours, that number of hours should help you achieve that set goal.
However every individual is different in their own unique ways and that is what you will need to understand in order to even answer this question for yourself.
That you are different, I am different. So if I happen to study for two hours a day it doesn’t necessarily mean that you also need to study two hours a day. There is something we call IQ and we all have different levels of IQ.
And based on your IQ (intelligent questions)you may require more time to study in a day or you may require less time to study in a day to achieve a particular result that we are looking at.
How then do I answer this question for you? How many hours do I have to study? To the best of my knowledge and experience, what I can tell you is that you need to reassess all that you have done so far.
You need to reassess all the hours you have been putting into your studies so far. So prior to this time or today’s very moment that you are listening to this episode. How many hours have you been spending in a day studying?
Alright let’s assume you are studying in a day. You study for 5 hours. The next question I want you to ask yourself is how the results of this are. The five hours you are studying is yielding the kind of result you are looking for or not.
I just need you to appreciate this before we move on. That is not the core of what I am going to advise you to do but I need you to appreciate it. To come to an agreement that this is the number of hours that I’m studying and this is the result that I’m getting.
Is there room for improvement? Should I be looking forward to increasing the outcome or the results. Then the most important thing that I’m going to tell you about if I meet you one-on-one and you asked me this question.
The answer that I’m going to give you and that is what I want you to pay particular attention to right now. The meat of this particular episode if you don’t get anything from this episode is what I need you to keep with you so pay particular attention.
It is not about the number of hours that you spend studying, let me repeat that again for you. It is not about the number of hours you spend studying. However it is more of the quality of study hours you have. Let me take it again. it is not about the number of hours that you are spending to study but the quality of your study hours.
So if you are studying for two hours as compared to a friend who is studying for five hours. The fact that you are doing two and he is doing five does not necessarily affect anything at all. What affects anything is how quality is the two hours of study.
So back in Senior High School, we had colleagues who would spend all day in the classroom but the majority of that time they spent either chatting or sleeping. So when you ask such people they will tell you that they spend all day studying. I can study for up to 16 good hours in a day.
And when you look at the quality of the study it is like out of these 16 hours they spend just close to an hour actually studying. Then that is not the only factor that goes into the quality of studies. So we have to look at the factors that go into the quality of studies.
The first one will obviously be the actual time that you are commuting the book or whatever you are learning to memory. So if I say that I am studying right now I have moved from my room to the library to come and study.
How many hours out of the total time that I’m spending in the library do I actually spend reading the book or committing the things that I’m learning to memory. So that is the very first one. So if you spend eight hours in the library.
Was all those 8 hours used in reading or in trying to understand the things that you are reading or you had to take rest along the line. So that number of hours is more of the time that you are using to really acquire the knowledge count even though it is not the ultimate.
The next important thing is where your uniqueness comes into play. Every one of you needs to understand and appreciate your own abilities and inabilities. That Is why this podcast is even on in the first place. To share with you how to become a smart student.
But it’s a process, obviously you won’t just get up and become a smart student. So we are in the process and I’m taking you through step-by-step. So today we are talking about the number of hours that you should be studying.
So your uniqueness, what I have to say about it is you have to come to an understanding of yourself. How do you learn best? So that is what you should do for you. Because personally I can learn by writing and can learn by listening to an audio. I have talked about the active and passive forms of learning in the previous episode.
You can listen to those as well. But you need to appreciate that you need to understand yourself personally what works for you. Do you learn best when you are writing, do you learn best when you just read What is the best method for your studies?
So even till this point look backward in time and see which one did you do that helped you the most or which one gave you the most outcome. Was it when you learned by writing? So when you identify the very process or the very means of study that helped you the most.
That is why you have to apply within the short period of time that you’re going to learn or no matter how long you are going to learn you have to apply the very effective method of study for you.
The next important thing which so many students ignore is assessing yourself.
An unexamined life is not worth living that is what they say and as a student, if you never accessed yourself in any way then you are not doing the right thing. You can’t be a smart student without accessing your own performance. So your number of hours is supposed to inform you of the number of hours you should learn.
After you are done with the number of hours. Let’s say you know that on a regular day you spend two hours learning. And out of those two hours you found out that you spend one hour thirty minutes actually learning and you spend the other thirty minutes doing other things.
Okay so you’ve come to understand that and you’ve realized that for you, you learn best when you sit down to write or recopy the things that you learn. So that is you. You’ve identified all this. Now the next thing is how do you access yourself to know that you really understand the things that you are learning and you can answer questions like that.
Let me share my personal experience with you. I’m the kind of guy who accesses himself by answering questions.
Again, in a previous episode, we talk about learning by teaching. So that’s one of the ways I access myself by teaching others to find how well I understood the thing that I learned.
Then the other thing is, when I’m learning I set questions. I know the objectives of the things that I’m learning. Then I use the objectives to set questions. With time I take the things that I’ve learnt.
I just go to the questions and try answering them. If I’m able to answer them very well then it means that I understand the things I have learnt and anytime I am asked I can answer those questions.
I mean I can remember the things that I’ve studied and that is when I know that my studies have been effective. If I spend two hours learning by writing and at the end of the day I’m still able to remember the things that I studied then I can say two hours works very fine for me.
So in a day I will spend two hours learning. Another thing that should also inform the number of hours you study is depending on the complexity of a particular course you are studying.
Because, if today I’m studying mathematics and because it is my favourite I spend less time. You may not be the same as maybe biology which is not my favourite and I have to spend a lot of time on it.
I’m just using this as an example for you to appreciate it ok. So it is on an individual level. You need to appreciate what works best for you. You need to know as an individual how many hours you actually spend doing the studies itself. Then how do you access yourself? so after assessing yourself what next.
Let me summarise it. It is a cycle that begins with you trying something out.
So on the regular let say for now you are spending two hours. It means we are going to start the process or the cycle with two hours of study everyday. Then out of these two hours, our interest is how many hours do we actually spend learning.
Thus the actual activity is the learning process itself. How many hours lets say one hour thirty minutes. So I have identified that. Then what is my true study method that works for me? So let’s use an example of studying by writing. I spend one hour thirty minutes a day studying my writing after I’ve established all this.
Then the next thing is how do I access my knowledge. How do I know that the things that I’ve studied are really working for me? You do that by using any of the two. You can do learning by teaching or the example that I gave that I personally use it. Is that when you are learning you ask questions or you set your own questions and you answer them.
Or you can decide to go and solve past questions, you can decide to engage people to ask you questions about the topic or even sometimes we learn and give handouts to people and ask them to ask us questions from the things that we’ve learned. So that is a way to access yourself.
After you access, then you can now reorder your things and I’ve also mentioned that the complexity of the course that you’re learning also affects the number of hours you need to spend. By the end, how many hours you decide to study should correspond to the kind of results you’re looking for.
So after you access yourself you should work in line. Maybe if that number of hours did not give you the kind of results you were expecting, then you probably want to increase the number of hours or change the method of study then you effect all these possible changes.
It is not an easy thing to just say for you, you learn two hours a day. You have to start with what you are doing right now to access and modify. That is the only true way to find the best number of hours for you to study.
You are unique in yourself and therefore I’m giving you this framework to help you access yourself anytime any day and know the number of hours that will work best for you. I hope this really helps you in your studies, enjoy your studies and indeed become the smart students that you have to be.