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How much time do I need for iCanStudy?
How much time do I need for iCanStudy?

This article gives you a guideline on how much time you can expect to spend going through the program to master the techniques.

Justin Sung avatar
Written by Justin Sung
Updated over a week ago

We recommend spending at least 5 to 6 hours per week, but you will only need an extra 1 or 2 hours per week, up to a maximum of 10 hours.

Your hours of practice are always much higher than your hours of learning theory (usually to at least a 5:1 ratio), so any more than 2 or 3 hours of theory per week can be difficult to sustain. Although up to 10 hours is possible, it is not advised unless you are capable of massive weekly practice.

If that sounds confusing, let me explain why.

Different types of time

Unlike topic tests or exams, this program teaches skills, not domain knowledge. Therefore, "cramming" the program is not cognitively possible. Working through this program is much more similar to learning an instrument or a sport, than studying for an exam.

Therefore, the following considerations need to be fully acknowledged:

  1. It is not possible to binge the program videos, as completing videos does not improve actual practical skills.

  2. It is not possible to improve your skills without sufficient practice.

  3. There is a large and often highly underestimated gap between understanding something and being able to fluently apply it in practice. Think about "understanding" how to cook vs. actually making an amazing dish.

The time spent on the program should be divided into theory time and practice time.

Theory time

Theory time is the time you spend watching videos, going through the program lessons, engaging with feedback and clinic sessions, and learning about new techniques.

We recommend spending at least 1 or 2 hours per week (20 mins every one or two days), going through the program. The optimal range is approximately 5 to 6 hours of theory per week.

We recommend no more than 10 hours per week or 3 hours per day due to likely overload (imagine learning ten new techniques to play the violin in a single lesson).

Practice time

Techniques taught in the program should replace the existing techniques that you are using, rather than be added in addition. The only time you should add it to your existing system, instead of replacing something you are already doing, is when you didn't have anything in your system that was equivalent.

For example, many learners do not have an active priming or prestudy step. For these learners, they would need to add this on top of their existing system since there is nothing to replace. On the other hand, someone who is already doing prestudy could simply use our techniques instead of their normal techniques.

Therefore, practice time should not add any extra work for you. We recommend a 5:1 ratio between practice and theory.

For example, if you spend 4 hours on theory, you should aim to have approximately 20 hours practising the techniques you learned during theory time. For a few of the intermediate and advanced techniques, this ratio will need to be much, much higher.

The danger of rushing

The program is designed in stages, with each stage covering a broad range of solutions for a broad range of problems.

Each subsequent stage builds on what was learned in the previous stage, which means that inadequate mastery of early-stage techniques will prevent you from correctly using the more advanced techniques.

Because some of our techniques are extremely specific and novel, there is a very high chance that they will be new processes. Even our students who have completed PhD's find the advanced techniques to be too challenging without making sure the earlier stages were completed to the appropriate level.

Due to the illusion of fluency, it is a normal tendency of the human brain to incorrectly judge that we have mastery over something when we do not. Because we find it easy to understand something, we assume that we would be able to apply or execute it. This is a common reason for why students can be confident, yet still underperform during actual exams.

A student writing about why rushing the course is bad, from their experience.
A student writing about how they wasted 4 months by rushing the course.

When we do not balance theory with enough practice, we run into the danger of sabotaging our own progress and wasting much more time on unlearning and relearning a technique that we had learned incorrectly the first time.

To calculate how much time you might need, you can use our Practice Predictor to give you an estimate.

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