When people ask how much time does it take to get a first class degree I always answer: “Treat your degree like a job”.
Meaning start University work at 09:00 and work to 17:30 with an hours break time each day.
Treat this as the baseline for your entire degree course. Never do less than this!
Always try and keep two weeks ahead with your work, handing degree assignments in at least one week early.
Once you have established your lead of two weeks you will be able to enjoy quality free time in the evenings and at weekends, free from the worries of your degree course.
When the pressure is on, you still have extra study time available in the evenings.
For this to work you need to be productive during your working week, i.e. not chatting or messing around.
On this not there is an interesting study time calculator available, which flips my method on its head.
It suggests you calculate available study time by considering the following factors:
- Number of hours of sleep each night
- Number of grooming hours per day
- Number of hours for meals/snacks per day – include preparation time
- Total travel time weekdays
- Total travel time weekends
- Number of hours per week for regularly scheduled functions
- Number of hours per day for chores, errands etc.
- Number of hours of work per week
- Number of hours in lectures per week
- Number of average hours per week socializing per week
Add the totals and subtract from 168 hours (in a week) and what you have left is your potential available study time.
This method only helps if you use it to develop a realistic timetable of activities and stick to it.
The danger of this method is that it may lead you to over estimate how much time you can really study for, encouraging procrastination on your degree course.
Also, unless you are working properly on your degree assignments, you have no way of accurately understanding how long a particular assignment may take.
As you work on degree assignments, the effort required becomes more evident.
So, whilst I think the above is an interesting approach, I still place more importance on establishing a regime / routine for your degree studies.
Self-discipline is the key to being a successful degree student, not knowing how many hours you “could” work if you wanted to.