Time management

This page discusses how much time your studies will take and how to manage your time.

Distance study through the Open Polytechnic is absolutely do-able – as our many successful students have shown.

But to be successful, students need to be committed and to work out a way to fit their studies into their lives. And many of our students have busy lives with family/whanau, work, and other commitments all making demands on their time.

If you want to study but have a busy life, with many commitments, it’s very important that you:

  • know how much time your studies will take.
  • are realistic about how much time you have available to spend on your studies.
  • don’t take on more than you can cope with.

How much time will my studies take?

Before you enrol, you need to think about how much time your studies will take and how much time you have available.

  • Start by finding out what the credit value of your course is – search for the course on this site; the number of credits is included with the other course information.
  • Each credit takes about 10 hours of learning so multiply the number of credits by 10. For example: if your course is 20 credits you’ll need to study about 200 hours in total (20 x 10 = 200).
  • To work out how many hours that is per week and per day, you’ll need to find out how many weeks you’ll be studying. (You’ll find this information in key dates.) Say there are 15 weeks from the start of the trimester to the final exam. Divide the number of hours by the number of weeks. In this case, your answer is just over 13 hours per week, or about 2 hours per day.
  • But: if you’re a slow reader or have a learning disability, it could take you a lot longer than this.
  • It’s more realistic therefore for you to work on the basis of about 12 – 15 hours for each credit, i.e. plan on 2 – 3 hours per day, or even more if you have an assignment due.

Do you have enough time for your studies?

  • Start by working out how much time your various commitments will take.
  • Include all your commitments, e.g. work, family time, hobbies, sport, etc. Don’t forget things like sleep, meals and relaxation.
  • How much time do you have left for your studies? Is this enough?
  • Also, life happens – so try not over commit. It’s better to build in a little extra time for unforeseen events such as illness, a crisis at work, etc.

If you find you don’t have enough time…

If you find you’ve overcommitted your time, or the unexpected happens and you’re unable to complete your studies, it’s very important that you inform the Open Polytechnic that you wish to withdraw.

Withdrawals and fee refunds

Tips and strategies for managing your time

How to manage your time

How to manage your time when sitting exams

More about time management

The time management fairy (3:57 mins; opens in a new window)
A fun video on managing your time.

Message in a bottle – James Cook University (opens in a new window)
A interactive time management exercise.

Time management strategies – Virginia Tech (opens in a new window)
Includes practical tips and interactive exercises to help you better organise your time.

Time management – University of New South Wales (opens in a new window)
Tips to make time management easier; includes long- and short-term planning, and common time wasters: problems and solutions.

Time management self-assessment – University of Western Ontario (opens in a new window)
Self-assessment to check whether you’re a good time manager.