Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How Long Does a High School Study Guide Take?


I am planning for next year and wondered how much time it generally takes to complete The Heart of Darkness.

Thank you,

  / \

Dear Dianna,

All high school guides will take about the same amount of time, unless they are a large guide for a long book (such as Lord of the Rings, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and a few more).

  • As a general rule of thumb, most middle grades and high school study guides take from eight to ten weeks to complete, generally working on one section per week. Over the years, we have found that it works best if the students completely read the novel the first week, while also working on a prereading activity chosen by the parent or teacher. 
  • Starting the second week, most parents and teachers have found it works best to work on one study guide page per day until the chapter sections are completed. Students should be allowed to complete questions by referring to the book; many questions require some cross-reference between elements of the stories. 
  • Most study guides contain an Overview section that can be used as a final test, or it can be completed in the same way the chapter sections were completed. If you wish to perform a final test but your particular study guide does not have an Overview section, we suggest picking a couple of questions from each section of the study guide and using them as your final test. 
  • Most study guides also have a final section of essays and post-reading activities. These may be assigned at the parents’ or teachers’ discretion, but we suggest that students engage in several writing or other extra activities during the study of the novel to complement their reading and strengthen their writing skills.  
The final answer to your question is that it should take from 6 1/2 to 8 weeks for this particular guide since it is a shorter book and slightly smaller guide. (You can check the actual page count on our website here. Just click on other details. ) My formula for length is: Study Guide page count - 10 pages for front and back content, then figure roughly one page per day. For example, Heart of Darkness is 47 pages - 10 = 37 pages or days. At five days per school week, this comes to 7 weeks and two days approximately. But remember that students may go faster, doing a few pages of a vocab section in one day, and may take longer on a Dig Deeper page, so it will vary from student to student a bit.


  1. My daughter is in the 7th grade however the study guides overwhelm her causing her to delay in reading assignments. Any suggestions? I generally choose to download so I can have the immediate e-study guide. Help.

    1. Dear Lydia,
      Many students find our guides to be a lot of work. This is why we suggest allowing at least 9-12 weeks for one guide. I have found that working one on one with the student for about 20 minutes a day, doing only one page in the guide, is really a confidence booster for them. As long as they have read enough chapters in the book to do that section of the guide, it will work well. I prefer to have students read the entire book before they begin the guide, but not everyone reads an entire book in one week. But remember, it's great if she does finish the book ahead of time.
      The great thing about our guides is the flexibility to match her pace. You may consider only doing one guide each semester until they become less overwhelming.

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  3. Hello,
    We are planning on doing 2 studies next year in our coop, the first 2 books of Narnia. I was wondering can students use a book other than the ones you can purchase from Progeny Press? For instance my daughter owns a big book that contains all the books of Narnia, can she use that version or does it need to be from Progeny Press in order to line up with the study guide?


Have a similar issue or question? Let me know and I will be more than happy to help out!