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Being an OU student
Being an OU student

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4 How will I find time to study?

As an OU student you’re likely to be fitting study around other commitments. With time and experience you’ll become skilled at planning your time and motivating yourself.


If you are an apprentice you are studying a mixture of academic and work-based modules. This makes estimating your study time different to standard students. Your total hours of planned study (time you should be given by your employer to study) is detailed in your Training Plan part one (commitment to learning). You should discuss with your line manager how you will take this time and your practice tutor can help. You will record the time you use each week in your portfolio.

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Figure 3 Making time for your module.

For other students

The majority of modules at the OU are worth 60 or 30 credits.

For a 60-credit module you’ll need around 16–18 hours study time per week.

For a 30-credit module the study time will depend on whether the module runs over 22 weeks or 30 weeks and the study time needed each week will be either 14 hours (over 22 weeks) or 8–9 hours (over 30 weeks).   

The majority of OU students choose to study part-time. If you’re planning to study 120 credits (for example, two 60-credit modules), it’s important to know that this is equivalent to full-time study. If you have chosen to start with more than 60 credits you will need to consider how you can accommodate the study hours with your other commitments (work, family etc), you can contact your student support team [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] for some advice.

Of course, students do not all study at the same speed so these timings can vary. There may be topics that you find easier to absorb, while others require more reading or practice. So the time you need to spend studying will vary slightly from week to week. You might also need more time for your studies when there’s an assignment due. Many modules include short breaks, often over key holiday periods such as Christmas, to give you time to catch up or have a short time away from your studies.

Completing this course will help you get into the habit of setting aside time to study. The course requires around 12 hours of your time, but the timescale you complete this over is up to you.

You’ll look at time management in more detail in Session 5.

Next, you’ll find out about discounts available to students and free software for study.