This is one of the most common questions that we get asked, and it is a very important question. If you do not study enough, you will probably fail the exam. If you study too much, you will probably pass the exam, but you will not have used your time efficiently.
How much should you study so that you study enough, but not too much? Let’s look at this from short, medium, and long-term perspectives.
On a daily basis (the short-term), you usually should not study more than 2 hours per day. Studying a little bit every day is far more efficient and effective than studying a lot on only one or two days a week. There are some topics that require time for the pieces to “fall into place” and for most people this process cannot be hurried in one long study session. The longer you study in any one session, the less you will learn in that additional time – this is the law of diminishing marginal returns.
On a weekly basis (the medium-term), it is important that you spend 30-60 minutes reviewing the topics that you have already studied. One of the challenges of preparing is remembering the topics that you studied early on, usually months before the exam. In this review, you should do some questions from the already-studied topics (15-20 will be enough) and also scan through the textbook to remind yourself about the terms and topics.
Overall (the long-term), we cannot give you a total amount of time that you need to study because it is so different for each person based on your specific education, experience, study speed, etc. The mock exam can give you a good sense of how prepared you are, but you will need to be honest with yourself in making an assessment of your level of readiness. Some of the things that you need to consider are:
- How confident are you when answering a question? Do you KNOW that choice C is correct, or do you only THINK (or hope) that it is correct?
- For theory questions, do you know why the incorrect choices are incorrect? If you know why they are incorrect, that is a very good indication that you understand the topic.
- Would you be able to explain the topic to someone else? If you know it well enough to explain it clearly to someone else, you know that topic very well.
While there is no magic number of hours that you must study, you can follow our strategies to help you make the most of your study time and honestly assess yourself to know when you are prepared to pass your exam.