What Is Study Leave?

Karis Nash  · May 4th 2023  · 4 min

It’s not a requirement, but study leave allows you to revise from the comfort of your home.


Summer term marks the final academic push before a well-deserved break. With this last stride comes exams. At both GCSE and A-level your school or college may offer you study days. This time off school is a great opportunity to revise and prepare for your exams.

Training at work

What is study leave?

Study leave is a period of time your school may give you off with the intention of you studying at home. It normally occurs when you have upcoming exams, such as GCSE’s. During the study leave period you will only have to come into school for your exams or if you’d like to attend any revision sessions.

Each school or college is different, therefore the amount of study leave will differ. Some schools or colleges won’t give students any time off, whilst others may offer a few weeks.

When can I take study leave?

Commonly, study leave is taken before your GCSE examinations in Year 11. However, there are also other opportunities to take study leave in your further education. Some colleges or sixth forms may offer study leave for AS and A-level exams. This is likely to be a similar set up as your GCSE study leave, however it could be for a longer time period.

Why is study leave important?

As exam season gets closer you’ll want to be spending your time revising. Once you have learnt all there is to the exam syllabus, there isn't much to gain from sitting in a classroom. Instead, you could be spending your time studying away from distractions.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are finding a particular topic tough, take a step back and reflect on the positives.

Study leave can also help reduce any stress or anxiety you may be feeling about your upcoming exams. Knowing you are spending your days revising and not chatting with your mates could give you reassurance that your time is being spent productively. Study leave also makes it easier to relax. It is important to look after yourself during the nerve-racking exam season. If you’re at home you could take a break at any point of the day.

How much study leave do year 13s get?

This will largely depend on the school you attend. Typically, year 13s can get expect around 5 weeks of study leave, but this has been known to increase or decrease depending on the school.

Do I have to take study leave?

Just as schools are not required to provide study leave, students do not have to take it. Every pupil learns differently, therefore schools must have provisions in place for those who would prefer to come to school to revise. Despite this, most schools see study leave as a great opportunity for students to develop their independent study in preparation for further education.

What is study leave at work?

Study leave at work is dedicated time off work to complete your studies. This can be any length of time, anywhere between days, weeks or months. This is usually something that is extended to employees who are working as part of an apprenticeship, students who are working in the midst of their studies at university or who are mature students working to a qualification while working.

Despite this, there are questions you will still need to ask your employer. You will need to know if the leave is paid or unpaid, what tax implications there are in either case and what proof of attendance you need to provide upon returning to work.

Study leave policy

When is study leave?

This depends on your school or college. Generally, study leave starts around 2 weeks before the start of your exams.

Sometimes, it changes depending on what year you are in. Those in year 11 may find themselves on a different timescale than those in year 13. Year 12s do not traditionally receive study leave, but this, again, will depend on your school or college.

How long is study leave?

The length of study leave is dictated by the school or college you are attending. Study leave may be only a week, some may even be as long as three.

Typically, study leave does not exceed 30 days. Study leave may extend more if you are working at the same time, though this will depend on your employer.

How can I make the most out of study leave?

Getting started with a task is often the hardest part. If you’ve just finished school you’re probably just wanting to have some time out. However, when it comes to exams, you often have a lot to revise in a short time frame. To avoid last minute study cram, start revising early. This way you won’t find revision as stressful and you’ll be able to revise everything you need to with a breeze. To get started, why not make a revision timetable. This will add structure to your study leave and help you stay motivated.

Be ambitious with your revision, but remember to also be realistic. Avoid cramming in the whole syllabus in one day. Instead, spread your revision out and give yourself regular breaks. Your main focus will be revising, but study leave is also an ideal time to get yourself mentally prepared for your exams. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

It is important to look after yourself during the nerve-racking exam season.

It is likely that your school or college will offer a variety of study resources. For example, they may offer revision sessions or e-learning material. If you’re struggling to understand something or feel stuck on what to revise next then use these. Also, remember you can reach out to your teachers for any help during your study leave.

Exam periods can be an unsettling time. Staying positive during your study leave is essential. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are finding a particular topic tough, take a step back and reflect on the positives. Talk to your friends and encourage them too, they may also be finding the process difficult. Constantly remind yourself of the progress you are making and try not to fret about the small hiccups along the way.

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