Higher Education

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 329–343 | Cite as

Learning approaches, study time and academic performance

  • David Kember
  • Qun Wang Jamieson
  • Mike Pomfret
  • Eric T. T. Wong


This study investigated the relationship between learning approach, time spent studying and grades awarded. A class of mechanical engineering students (N=34; male) were asked to keep an hour-by-hour study diary for one week. The Biggs' Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ) provided measures of these students' approach to study tasks. Use of a surface approach to learning was found to be positively correlated with both high attendance in class and greater hours of independent study time. The former is explained by the surface learner's need for the lecturer to define the course; the latter by the inefficiency of a surface approach. Poor grades in spite of long study hours mirror an inefficient surface approach. This finding suggests the need for individual study counselling. Case studies show that the use of a deep approach does not result in good grades unless accompanied by sufficient work. The diary method in conjunction with the SPQ appears to be a promising method for researching workload, study times and other related variables.


Academic Performance Promising Method Learn Approach Study Time Mechanical Engineering 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Kember
    • 1
  • Qun Wang Jamieson
    • 1
  • Mike Pomfret
    • 1
  • Eric T. T. Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong

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