So, you’ve been accepted onto a master’s program? Congratulations! Now it’s time to start preparing for your first semester.
It’s no secret that doing a postgraduate qualification can be tough. It requires hard work and dedication if you want to pass with flying colors – but the effort is more than worth it for the benefits you can enjoy.
Don’t panic if it’s been a while since you were in formal education because there are plenty of tips and tricks you can employ to give yourself the best chance of excelling in your master’s program. Some of the most powerful are discussed below.
How to study more effectively
One of the first areas to work on is your study skills. Knowing how to learn more efficiently can save you time and improve your grades by ensuring that you understand and retain information more effectively. This is true whether you’re taking a masters in multimedia technology or aerospace engineering.
Try out these tips to level up your learning:
- Experiment with taking notes by hand rather than on a laptop, as some studies suggest it helps improve retention
- Read widely about the subject to see it from different perspectives. Remember, you don’t have to stick to the reading lists
- Actively test yourself on what you’re learning instead of just reading your textbooks, notes, and articles over and over again
- Study a little bit every single day if possible, rather than cramming all your learning into one long session a week
- Create a study schedule to ensure that you cover all the topics you need to in good time
- Have a go at summarizing topics in your own words – not simply regurgitating what your professor or the textbooks say – in order to improve your understanding
- Participate proactively in your seminars and other classes, and be sure to ask questions if there’s something you’re unsure of
- Ask for feedback on your work, and read it thoroughly to help you improve
- Pair up with a study buddy and keep each other motivated when revising for exams
- If you’re easily distracted by social media and other websites, use an app to block your access to them for a specified amount of time
- Try explaining what you’re studying to someone else as a way to highlight the areas you’re not so clear on
- Set up a productivity-boosting study space at home to help you work without distractions
How to ace your dissertation
The vast majority of master’s programs involve writing a dissertation towards the end of your degree. This is a lengthy essay on a relevant topic of your choice, which involves a considerable amount of independent research and original thinking. It’s generally worth more than your other modules, so be sure to give it your all!
Here’s some key advice:
- Choose a question that genuinely interests you
- Start early
- Plan out the general structure of the essay in advance
- Set a writing schedule and commit to a certain number of words a week
- Make the most of your meetings with your supervisor, so your dissertation is as good as it can be
- Proofread and edit it carefully before submitting
- Consider getting a friend to read over your work
- Ensure you reference your sources properly