As a Year 12 student, you may be wondering how many hours you should be dedicating to study outside of class time. With seemingly endless classes, assignments and exams to prepare for while balancing all your other commitments, it can be difficult to know exactly how much time you should be spending on each subject. How much is too much? How much is not enough?
Let’s take a look at some general guidelines for how many hours you should study in Year 12, and how you can make the most of the time you spend hitting the books.
Recommended study hours
As a general rule, Year 12 students should aim to spend at least two to three hours studying outside class for every subject they do in a week. This means if you’re taking five HSC/VCE/SEE/SACE subjects in Year 12, you should be spending 10 to 15 hours studying on your own (or with friends) during the week.
Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline. How many hours of study per subject you should do will vary between classes and may be quite different to how much time your friends spend studying. Two to three hours of study per subject is a good place to start, but everyone is different.
You will need to study more or less depending on various factors, and the number of hours you study will change over time. Complex concepts or challenging assignments will add to your study time, while you may find you’re top of the class in some subjects with very little additional work (lucky you).
Factors that affect study hours
- The difficulty of the subject: Some classes will be more challenging for you than others and you may need to spend more time studying just to keep up.
- Your academic goals: If you’re keen to top the rankings in your state, you probably want to devote more time to studying than if you’re just aiming to pass your classes.
- Learning style: The way you learn may require you to spend more time going over material to fully understand it.
- Extracurricular activities: Sports, clubs and other activities outside class are important too, and they may take precedence at certain times of the year. However, you’ll need to rebalance the time you spend on study and extracurriculars around exam or assessment periods to ensure you get the marks you want.
- Friends and family: Even during hectic times in the school calendar, you need to maintain a healthy balance between your academic and personal life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, adjust your study schedule to allow for more downtime.
Minimum study hours
At a bare minimum, you should spend about two hours per subject per week studying in Year 12. Of course, this will vary based on the factors above, but this will likely just be enough for you to review notes, complete assignments and prepare for tests or exams throughout the year.
However, if you’re struggling to keep up with certain subjects or you’re aiming to get top marks, you’ll need to dedicate more time to your high school studies – maybe up to five or six hours a week per subject outside of class, particularly ahead of your final exams. Just make sure you don’t go to the other end of the extreme by regularly exceeding the maximum hours one can study in a day. That’s a road to certain burnout.
Ultimately, the key to a successful Year 12 experience is finding a study routine that works for you. While it’s important to spend enough time on your studies, you also need to maintain a healthy balance between schoolwork, extracurricular activities and your personal life.
How to maximise your study hours
The amount of study you need to do each week can feel overwhelming, but the more efficient you are with your study sessions, the less time you’ll actually need to spend at your desk.
Try these tips to study smarter not longer:
- Create a study schedule: Planning out your study time in advance can help you stay on track and make the most of your available hours. Block out time for each subject, remembering to factor in time to chill out. Speaking of breaks…
- Take breaks: Taking regular breaks can help you stay focused and prevent burnout. Try the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for 25 minutes (set a timer) and then take a five-minute break. Do that four times, then take a longer break for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Stay organised: Keep all your notes, assignments and study materials in one place to help you stay focused and avoid wasting time searching for what you need. Keep your study area neat, and organise your notes with coloured tabs, clear file folders or vertical racks. A large wall calendar might help you map out your study schedule, upcoming assignments and other commitments.
- Use active learning: Instead of just reading your notes, try actively engaging with the material. You can create flashcards, do practice problems, explain theories to a study partner, illustrate concepts, create rhymes to remember facts or cover your wall with coloured notes.
- Stay healthy: Eating well, getting enough sleep and being physically active can help you stay focused and energised, making it easier to be productive during your study time. This will become more important the closer you get to final exams.
Year 12 can be challenging, but with a balanced study schedule, good organisation and the right amount of self-care, you’ll be able to succeed – and maybe even enjoy it.