UWTSD Lecturers Dr. Caroline Lohmann-Hancock, Phillip Morgan, and Ken Dicks have put together a list of useful tips to help make studying easier.
- Databases are key for research! Using just your power point slides won’t get you the marks you’re aiming for.
- We have internal databases (in the Library) and external ones! Speak to your lecturer for ones relevant to your course.
- Practice based degrees benefit greatly from utilising databases!
- Make sure you know your reference style and reference them correctly!
- First thing – WORD COUNT! Don’t try and cram everything you know about a subject into one piece of work, look at the word count and the question and identify what the most relevant information is in the space you have been given.
- When breaking down your question, consider these questions: What is the focus/the subject? What do they want you to do with it?
- Most of the time, your essay question IS your introduction! Once you have broken it down and have identified the learning objective from that question, that’s the framework of your introduction ready for you!
- A conclusion can be checked with these questions: so what? Who cares? What’s next? - So what have you found? Who/what does it impact? And where could the research go from here?
- Remember that presentations are used in the working world! Take these as opportunities to practice and get feedback!
- These skill sets are evolving, from purely face to face, to recordings to live streams! Plan, practice, trust yourself, remember to breathe!
- Keep your head up! Make eye contact! The audience are people, not divine, they are mortal human beings, and we are here to support you!
- Trust yourself! Your university experience has led to this, as lecturers we trust you!
- Pick something you are passionate about, if you’re not passionate about the subject you will struggle to write your dissertation.
- Think of the dissertation as lots of smaller essays that you are joining together, telling the reader why a section is moving into the next bit.
- Don’t feel pressured to start at the introduction, if you have a section that’s easy to write, start there!
- Meet with your supervisor! We are here to support you! From the proposal all the way through until submission. Think of us as your ‘critical friend’ who can give you feedback!
- There is data/evidence that show students who attend their supervisory meetings get better grades than a student who does not.
- Keep a record of everything and keep it organised! If you are going to read something, you should only be reading it once. Write down the page number and the source how you would be referencing it, so you have it from the get-go!
- When you download PDF’s etc, save it under a sensible name so you can find it again!
- Alphabetize your references!
- Once you commit to a recording style that suits you, it really works!
- Make use of addons like RefWorks, it can speed up your referencing and keep a proper record of everything you have read to build a better bibliography.
Reflections & Reflective Pieces
- It is often referred to as reflective practice - that’s the key, PRACTICE!
- It’s not just about ‘what's happened’, it’s about what’s happened in a professional context, applying knowledge and research to help you understand the content more and coming up with something positive you can take forward and do better the next time.
- The idea of reflexivity comes into this, how did you handle the task? Not just considering what went well or wrong and how you put it right but considering why.
- Part of the process is a natural swerve towards the negative parts of the task or process, but these are things to take forward and improve as a part of your learning journey.
- You need to remember to unpack what went well and do that again!
Level 3 Students
- Trust your lecturer and give everything a go! We need to dissolve the fear of being wrong, even if we get 40% right this time, we can build on that the next time around!
- You may decide that at the end of Level 3 you may want to build off in another direction, see it as a journey and find where you want to go next! It is a foundation course for a reason – it's something for you to build on!
- Take your experience with you! We have so many students who come from different walks of life, typically mature students, with a wealth of experience out in the world so don’t be afraid to share that as it enriches the learning experience of everyone in the room. Its officially called ‘Non-traditional (mature student) widening access’ but all that means is you have lived a bit! We have had a student graduate at 89, your life experience is transferrable to higher education!
- If you are joining us from college, a foundation course doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of succeeding in higher education, use the year to get used to university, get to know your lecturers and decide what direction you want to take your education!
Going from undergraduate to postgraduate study.
- At PG, you are creating content for others to read and use. We want students who are motivated!
- You are ‘academically adults’, procrastinating too long too often is your biggest worry. Keeping on top of your work is the big challenge.
- While we have an ‘entry requirement’ of a 2:1 at undergraduate, this isn't the only way into MA and PhD study!
- You need to want it! We have seen so many students who are ’academically gifted’ at undergraduate not do as well at PG as they don’t want it as badly as a student who works hard, it really is a pleasure to see those students surpass their own expectations
- As with the dissertation, stay in contact with your lecturers! Take on board their feedback!