Monday, May 19, 2008

Academic time management...

So the author of our pre-calculus book, and head of the math department wrote a little "How to study math" handout that advises us how much time and energy we should spend studying.

He says that for every "academically rigorous" field of study like math, physics, chemistry, architecture, etc we should spend 2 hours of of time outside of class for every single actual hour spent in class (not credit hour.)

He states that since we spend 8 hours and 40 minutes in our pre-calculus class we should spend 18 hours and 40 minutes out side of class studying and doing homework. Now... I'm not a math teacher but 8 and 40/60 * 2 = 17 hours and 20 minutes when I do the math...

He then states we should be expected to be spending 27 hours and 10 minutes total in class and out on each 4 credit class. (Again.. with the weird math 8h40min + 18h 40min = 27hours 20 minutes...)

He also states that we must get 8 hours of sleep no matter what to function at peak efficiency, otherwise we are wasting ours and the instructors time.

There are a 168 hours in a week.
Using his numbers...

If we get 8 hours sleep every night there are 112 left over.

My summer schedule of 8 credits of math and physics I should be spending 54 hours and 40 minutes a week in class and out of class academically.

Which should leave me 57 hours and 20 minutes a week, or 8 hours a day to work, shower, eat, etc.


But lets say you had my past spring schedule of 12 credits.

Why then, you should be spending 82 hours academically, leaving you with 30 hours a week, or 4 hours and 20 minutes a day to work, shower, eat, etc.

But lets suppose you are an architecture student taking the recommended 16-18 credit load.

At 16 credit it a 109 academic hours, leaving you a glorious 2 hours and 40 minutes a week, or 22 minutes a day.

At 18 credits you should be spending 123 hours, leaving you with an -11 hours with which to do all those distracting non-academic functions.

Even if you do you basic algebra correctly (which some professor are apparently not apt to do) according to his theory you should spend 26 hours total academically for every 4 credit class.

Which means I this summer I should have 52 hours free a week.
Last Spring I should have had 34 hours free a week.
At 16 Credits 8 hours free a week.
At 18 credits -5 hours free a week.



  1. Well I used to say that, but getting the flu, pneumonia ,strep, and several hand injuries has suggested to me that a perpetual sleep deprived state may not in fact be ideal.

  2. You do have point. You are kind of the "Poster Child" for not going sleep deprived.

  3. Reminds me of a button I have somewhere:

    "Maybe your life is just to serve as a warning to others."

  4. OK, but several points:
    1) yes the math teacher's math is weird, probably some alternate base or irrational exponent or something;
    2) count your blessings: in both my undergrad and grad programs they called for 3 hours homework per contact hour; but
    3) they were really much more reasonable than that sounds. Each "credit" in whatever arcane system developed credits, is supposed to represent one contact hour per week for 15 weeks: 15 contact hours total. So, in a 15-week semester, a 3 credit course was 3 hours each week, and so on and so on. A twelve credit load, in that world, translated to a 48-hour academic work week. (Labs counted not by actual contact hours, typically 3 per week, but by the "credit" hour, or only one extra hour (x 3) to work.

    So, you are attending 3, 3-hour classes in calc each week!!! (and physics?!?!?) (and it's only a 6-week semester????) (try to remember that my mother was a physics teacher...) Why did you think you were going to sleep?

    Just call Corrie at 3 AM - she's probably just working on her dissertation proposal, anyway, and could use the break.