Postgraduate study tips
8 top tips for postgrads, from postgrads
Taking on a postgraduate degree is a very different from undergraduate. It’s a big commitment, and you get out what you put in. Whether you study part-time or full-time, the chances are it’ll be a bit of a balancing act – but a completely manageable one.
With the help of some friends who’ve studied at postgrad level (with some holding down a full-time job at the same time) we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate the world of postgraduate study.
8 top tips
Find a subject you enjoy
While it might sound obvious, finding out a bit more about your chosen subject before you commit is a really smart idea. Selecting a course you’re genuinely interested in will make it feel a lot less like study, and you’ll feel much more motivated to get stuck in. So do a bit of background reading, investigate any online short courses out there, and talk to people who’ve been there before to help you figure out the right course for you.
Plan, plan, plan
Making a realistic study schedule is key to staying on track. Try to anticipate when you’ll be too tired to study (don’t schedule a six-hour evening study stint when you’ve been at work all day), and when you’ll be at your most productive. Figure out at the start of term when you’ll be on placement, so you can make any alternative arrangements well in advance.
We know it’s not always possible when you have other commitments, but where you can, try and attend lectures. Engaging with other students and building relationships with your professors can be really helpful, so whether it’s in person, or online, try and get involved as much as you can. It’ll enrich your learning experience, and you might just learn something new.
Shake up your study zone
Try and switch up where you do your study. A new location can offer a fresh perspective, so take yourself out for coffee, find your focus in the library, or get some air in the park while you do your reading.
Ask for help
There are loads of people around who are happy to help, you just have to ask. Whether it’s advice on study techniques, or a technical question about your subject – if you need a hand, speak up.
Give yourself a break
Although your study time might be limited, it’s still important to take time out to see friends, squeeze in some exercise and indulge your hobbies. It might feel like you’re slacking off, but focusing your attention on something else for a while will mean that you come back refreshed and ready to tackle that next assignment.
Let your employer know
If you’re holding down a full-time job while studying, make sure you mention it to your boss. That way, they can make sure you have the flexibility and support you need.
Give yourself time to adjust
At the beginning it might seem like a lot. Allow yourself a couple of weeks to get used to things. If you’re feeling a little rusty, don’t worry – you’ll soon get to grips with what’s expected of you, pick up new study techniques and figure out how you work best. Learning to juggle work, study, other responsibilities and leisure time can take a little while, but once you strike that balance and you start to see results, it’ll be completely worth it. Persevere, have confidence in yourself and don’t underestimate your ability.