The Student Room Group

do i do enough studying for a levels?

i'm self teaching 3 a levels and today i have completed around 3- 4 hours full on with no distractions. i also have been on 2 hour walks with my dog. i feel exhausted and im trying to revise as i feel really behind because i normally work (my job) in the evenings and i dont feel as if im studying enough (im in my first year).
how many hours should i be studying for???
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by alevelstudent090
i'm self teaching 3 a levels and today i have completed around 3- 4 hours full on with no distractions. i also have been on 2 hour walks with my dog. i feel exhausted and im trying to revise as i feel really behind because i normally work (my job) in the evenings and i dont feel as if im studying enough (im in my first year).
how many hours should i be studying for???


Self teaching all 3. Good luck.

The standard A Level requires 300 hours (I prefer 600-700 including revision). 3 A Levels require 900 hours (1800-2100).

At 3 hours a day, 900/3 = 300 days (600-700 days) If you intend to do your exams by next June (13-14 months away, or 390-420 days), this will not be enough if you factor in revision. It wil be tight if you just cover the basic material.
At 4 hours a day, 900/4 = 225 days (450-525 days) you will be cutting it thin.

At 5 hours a day, 900/5 = 180 days (120-420 days), this is far more comfortable and accepting.
At 6 hours, 900/6 = 150 days (300-350 days), this is a lot more comfortable and prudent.

I don't know how far you are with your subjects or what specific subjects they are in, but if they are content heavy subjects or subjects that require a lot of practice, then I would definitely lean more on 5 hours a day.

Having said that, I understand the effect of stress and long hours on the mind; it's not the best state to be in to learn.

Be very practical with the way you learn and use your time as efficiently as possible. For example, I would listen to revision notes or comments whilst walking your dog, especially covering the material that you learned about a week to a few days ago.
Original post by MindMax2000
Self teaching all 3. Good luck.

The standard A Level requires 300 hours (I prefer 600-700 including revision). 3 A Levels require 900 hours (1800-2100).

At 3 hours a day, 900/3 = 300 days (600-700 days) If you intend to do your exams by next June (13-14 months away, or 390-420 days), this will not be enough if you factor in revision. It wil be tight if you just cover the basic material.
At 4 hours a day, 900/4 = 225 days (450-525 days) you will be cutting it thin.

At 5 hours a day, 900/5 = 180 days (120-420 days), this is far more comfortable and accepting.
At 6 hours, 900/6 = 150 days (300-350 days), this is a lot more comfortable and prudent.

I don't know how far you are with your subjects or what specific subjects they are in, but if they are content heavy subjects or subjects that require a lot of practice, then I would definitely lean more on 5 hours a day.

Having said that, I understand the effect of stress and long hours on the mind; it's not the best state to be in to learn.

Be very practical with the way you learn and use your time as efficiently as possible. For example, I would listen to revision notes or comments whilst walking your dog, especially covering the material that you learned about a week to a few days ago.

thank you!!! i would be fine if i didnt have a job etc and also im going through a lot atm with my grandma being severely ill and im under a lot of stress. i have been trying to study and focus and have used flora to help me. i started my a levels at the end of January and am on units 3 for all my subjects and going onto unit 4. not sure if ive caught up but we will see and i will try to do 6 hours a day, is it too late to start now with 6 hours and hope for good grades or do you think ive wasted my months but tbh i have done lots of hours some days when im feeling really motivated.
i study 3 essay based subjects psychology, sociology and religious studies and i need good grades for university so im hoping it all goes to plan. as of now, im going to go revise on seneca and perhaps create mind maps for the units i have done and stick them on my wall.
yes i may actually make my own voice notes about my topics and listen to them.. thank you for the idea!!
Original post by alevelstudent090
thank you!!! i would be fine if i didnt have a job etc and also im going through a lot atm with my grandma being severely ill and im under a lot of stress. i have been trying to study and focus and have used flora to help me. i started my a levels at the end of January and am on units 3 for all my subjects and going onto unit 4. not sure if ive caught up but we will see and i will try to do 6 hours a day, is it too late to start now with 6 hours and hope for good grades or do you think ive wasted my months but tbh i have done lots of hours some days when im feeling really motivated.
i study 3 essay based subjects psychology, sociology and religious studies and i need good grades for university so im hoping it all goes to plan. as of now, im going to go revise on seneca and perhaps create mind maps for the units i have done and stick them on my wall.
yes i may actually make my own voice notes about my topics and listen to them.. thank you for the idea!!


To my knowledge, the 3 subjects aren't particularly content heavy (compared to subjects like biology, chemistry, and history).

I am not sure which syllabi you are with, but I presume you have about 18 units in each of the 3 A Levels. That means you're 1/6 of the way through the material. In other words, you should have done at least 50 hours of reading for each subject, and roughly 150 hours in total. This also means that you have another 750 in material to go through (1650-1950 hours including revision).
If you intend to do your exams next summer, you have to do 2 hours everyday to cover all the material in time with no revision (not recommended, especially for essay based subjects). Or 4-5 hours everyday including revision. I would ramp this up to 6 hours a day to allow for conflicts with schedules, unexpected turn of events, etc. This is assuming you have 390 days left (I don't know the exam dates for next year's exams).
As you're self studying, you have the option to decide when to take your exams. Of course, doing it this May/June is out of the question. If you want to do them by next May/June, then you have a lot to catch up with.

With family crises, it's a difficult call to make. If your grandmother is severely ill, then I would prioritise seeing her. You can always choose when to take your exams, but you can't always say when you can see your family in their final moments.

Since your subjects are pretty much essay based, it's usually straight memorisation and exam strategy (assuming you have no coursework as part of your syllabi). So yeah, revise a lot and do it often.
Original post by MindMax2000
To my knowledge, the 3 subjects aren't particularly content heavy (compared to subjects like biology, chemistry, and history).

I am not sure which syllabi you are with, but I presume you have about 18 units in each of the 3 A Levels. That means you're 1/6 of the way through the material. In other words, you should have done at least 50 hours of reading for each subject, and roughly 150 hours in total. This also means that you have another 750 in material to go through (1650-1950 hours including revision).
If you intend to do your exams next summer, you have to do 2 hours everyday to cover all the material in time with no revision (not recommended, especially for essay based subjects). Or 4-5 hours everyday including revision. I would ramp this up to 6 hours a day to allow for conflicts with schedules, unexpected turn of events, etc. This is assuming you have 390 days left (I don't know the exam dates for next year's exams).
As you're self studying, you have the option to decide when to take your exams. Of course, doing it this May/June is out of the question. If you want to do them by next May/June, then you have a lot to catch up with.

With family crises, it's a difficult call to make. If your grandmother is severely ill, then I would prioritise seeing her. You can always choose when to take your exams, but you can't always say when you can see your family in their final moments.

Since your subjects are pretty much essay based, it's usually straight memorisation and exam strategy (assuming you have no coursework as part of your syllabi). So yeah, revise a lot and do it often.


yes thankfully they aren't content heavy which is why i chose them and im very interested in them. i am with aqa for psychology and sociology and also ocr for religious studies.
i intend on taking my exams next summer and im hoping i can make it especially as i plan on booking them soon to avoid the prices going up... i just hope it isn't impossible and i will be studying throughout this summer too definitely to catch up and throughout half terms i have been studying too.
so do you mean 6 hours for all 3 subjects all together? and this also includes revision too? i never knew how many hours i needed to complete and now ive realised how much content there is and how much time i need.

yes, you're right it is difficult but i would like to take them next year as i want to make her proud...

i do have a question about religious studies, do i need to remember all/most of the quotes?
thanks for your help!!
Original post by alevelstudent090
yes thankfully they aren't content heavy which is why i chose them and im very interested in them. i am with aqa for psychology and sociology and also ocr for religious studies.
i intend on taking my exams next summer and im hoping i can make it especially as i plan on booking them soon to avoid the prices going up... i just hope it isn't impossible and i will be studying throughout this summer too definitely to catch up and throughout half terms i have been studying too.
so do you mean 6 hours for all 3 subjects all together? and this also includes revision too? i never knew how many hours i needed to complete and now ive realised how much content there is and how much time i need.

yes, you're right it is difficult but i would like to take them next year as i want to make her proud...

i do have a question about religious studies, do i need to remember all/most of the quotes?
thanks for your help!!


so do you mean 6 hours for all 3 subjects all together? and this also includes revision too? i never knew how many hours i needed to complete and now ive realised how much content there is and how much time i need.
6 hours for all 3 subjects, including revision (on average, according to what they recommend).
If it was for each subject, you would be doing 18 hour days; no matter how difficult A Levels are, no one needs to do 18 hour days in studying.

i do have a question about religious studies, do i need to remember all/most of the quotes?
I didn't take religious studies, so I don't know. I would guess so considering the subject matter. Have you looked up YouTube videos on how to score high grades in religious studies and noted what tips they gave? For example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pMN1jAfrck
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyfN44SN86o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kePxzIgq0t8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFs3RiCiUo8
Hii I received 3A* but I did bio chem maths but I also did around 6 hours of work from about 5 weeks before my alevels. But this was content I already kind of knew just revising it and doing past papers. I would do 2 hours of revision from 8am, then have a 2 hour break, then 2 hour revision then 2 hour break and then 2 hours revision. I then had free time from 6pm onwards. Rather than the amount of time you spend, the way you spend the time is more important. So if you are making notes it’s useless. You can find free condensed notes online. I would pretend I was teaching the content to someone else to understand the content and then I would do past papers and learn from my mistakes. I had a a book where I would write all the phrases and mistakes I made through past papers and organised them by topic. And I would go over my weaknesses the most. And then I think about 2 weeks before alevels I increased the work load and started doing about 8 hrs a day.

Working at the same time seems really tiring so if there’s anyway you can request leave just a couple of weeks before exams or maybe work after you’ve done all your work could be a way around?
Original post by MindMax2000
so do you mean 6 hours for all 3 subjects all together? and this also includes revision too? i never knew how many hours i needed to complete and now ive realised how much content there is and how much time i need.
6 hours for all 3 subjects, including revision (on average, according to what they recommend).
If it was for each subject, you would be doing 18 hour days; no matter how difficult A Levels are, no one needs to do 18 hour days in studying.

i do have a question about religious studies, do i need to remember all/most of the quotes?
I didn't take religious studies, so I don't know. I would guess so considering the subject matter. Have you looked up YouTube videos on how to score high grades in religious studies and noted what tips they gave? For example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pMN1jAfrck
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyfN44SN86o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kePxzIgq0t8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFs3RiCiUo8


yes that's great thursday and friday i have been doing 4 hours and 4 hours 1/2 because i had work even though i got up early to study. however, today i have a 9 hour shift and will be able to study when i get home at 8 and study until 10 perhaps so at least that is something. tomorrow i can do 8 hours to make up for it as i have the whole day free.

thank you i will check those out! :smile:
Original post by lookingatthesun
Hii I received 3A* but I did bio chem maths but I also did around 6 hours of work from about 5 weeks before my alevels. But this was content I already kind of knew just revising it and doing past papers. I would do 2 hours of revision from 8am, then have a 2 hour break, then 2 hour revision then 2 hour break and then 2 hours revision. I then had free time from 6pm onwards. Rather than the amount of time you spend, the way you spend the time is more important. So if you are making notes it’s useless. You can find free condensed notes online. I would pretend I was teaching the content to someone else to understand the content and then I would do past papers and learn from my mistakes. I had a a book where I would write all the phrases and mistakes I made through past papers and organised them by topic. And I would go over my weaknesses the most. And then I think about 2 weeks before alevels I increased the work load and started doing about 8 hrs a day.

Working at the same time seems really tiring so if there’s anyway you can request leave just a couple of weeks before exams or maybe work after you’ve done all your work could be a way around?

hi, congrats on your a level grades :smile:. that is a better way to revise and makes it more easier to concentrate. atm, im only in first year so i wont be able to have time off so maybe next year i can or i intend to leave anyway in jan as it's highly unlikely that they would allow that sadly.
thank you for your advice :smile:
Original post by alevelstudent090
i'm self teaching 3 a levels and today i have completed around 3- 4 hours full on with no distractions. i also have been on 2 hour walks with my dog. i feel exhausted and im trying to revise as i feel really behind because i normally work (my job) in the evenings and i dont feel as if im studying enough (im in my first year).
how many hours should i be studying for???

Heya!
Try out the pomodoro technqie to use with your revision (article here), it helps me so it might also help you as well. how do you currently revise? Do you do past papers and go through the mark scheme? If it helps, Study Mind has lots of free resources :h:

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study mind
Original post by alevelstudent090
hi, congrats on your a level grades :smile:. that is a better way to revise and makes it more easier to concentrate. atm, im only in first year so i wont be able to have time off so maybe next year i can or i intend to leave anyway in jan as it's highly unlikely that they would allow that sadly.
thank you for your advice :smile:

Ohh I didn’t know u were doing first year . Actually then I would suggest for you to test yourself and give deadlines if you’re self studying e.g. every 3 weeks give yourself a topic test of past exam questions and that way it will force you to learn. Tbh in year 13 I didn’t remember half of the stuff I had learnt in year 12 and I found it was actually okay to do revision closer to exams so I would actually be able to remember everything

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