to hit the books

Literally, hit the books means to physically hit, punch or slap your books. However, this is a common English expression among students, especially American college students who have a lot of studying to do. It simply means “to study,” and is a way of telling your friends that you’re going to study. It could be for a final exam, a mid-term test or even an English exam. “Sorry but I can’t have dinner with you tonight, I have to hit the books. I have a huge exam next week!”