We’re back into academic term time, and it’s time to get back to reading lists, assignments, and learning. At the end of last year I graduated from my Masters degree in Digital Marketing. A masters was a definite jump up from undergraduate level, so I thought I’d put together a post sharing my top tips for postgraduate study for any of you who are currently studying, or considering studying at postgraduate level. You can read a post on why I Chose To Do A Masters Degree, but I can wholeheartedly say I am glad I stuck it through and completed my degree. It was a learning curve, I learned a lot about myself, I discovered a love for a new industry, and I grew in confidence.
Pick a Subject you’re passionate about
This is absolutely key. Not only in terms of the subject of degree you wish to pursue, but subjects when it comes to essay topics, research projects, and your dissertation. You need to want to study that topic and have a real interest in it. This will keep you motivated, eager to learn, and ultimately enjoy your degree. My undergraduate degree was in Sociology, so to jump from that to a marketing masters was a change. But I was interested and motivated to learn about a new field. So don’t be afraid to venture into a new subject area, and trust your ability to take on the challenge, and view it as an opportunity to expand your knowledge.
Read ahead, and squeeze it in wherever you can
With any level of degree, reading is always going to be a big part of it. My undergraduate degree in Sociology was very heavy in terms of reading, so in this respect I was quite well prepared for the reading lists that came along with my Masters. But my ultimate tip with reading is to try get ahead with it, and fit it in where you can. 20 minutes with a cup of tea in the afternoon? Grab a journal article, some highlighters and a pen for notes, and start digesting that knowledge. Don’t feel like you need to read absolutely everything, and don’t overload yourself with pressure. Dipping in and out of pieces of reading when you can, and focussing on topics that really grab your interest is a good way to go and will get you enjoying your academic reading, rather than dreading it.
Reading in advance will also serve you really well when it comes to writing your dissertation or thesis as you’ll already have a bank of sources and authors you know about. I wrote a post specifically on writing my Masters dissertation and my top tips, which you can read here.
Establish your most efficient working methods
Another top tip is to establish your most efficient working methods. What time of day do you work best – are you an early bird, or a night owl? Do you prefer to study in the comfort of your home, or at the library? Do you prefer to hand write your lecture notes, or type?
Once you’ve figured out how you like best to work – stick to it. And make a routine from there. Don’t corner yourself into a way of working that you believe you ‘should’ be doing – do what works well for you, and what will bring you the most from your studying.
Discuss your work and ideas with others
When it comes to your projects and assignments, discuss your ideas with your peers. It can be really helpful to bounce ideas off each other, and they will be able to offer you a different insight on something, and vice versa.
Structure your time
I recommend having one form of calendar where you store absolutely everything that will eat up your time – I like to store things on my phone just because it’s always at hand. But I also enjoy physically writing things down sometimes too.
Once you’ve pencilled in when you’re lectures, seminars and any other commitments you have are, you can establish and pencil in time to study. Having a clear plan for your days will make you feel less overwhelmed, and help boost your productivity. There’s nothing worse than that late-night dread thinking about your never ending to do list for the next day. But with a structured time-plan in place, it starts to look more manageable. You know what you’ll be achieving, and when.
Remember to enjoy yourself
Remember, studying doesn’t have to be all work and no play! Make the most of your time being a student and have fun with it. Make friends, join society, make time for your hobbies – whatever floats your boat.
I hope these tips are helpful. I’d love to hear your tips for studying!