By Janelle Benedict, MSc Digital Marketing student
As the end of the academic year approaches at Henley, I have had time to reflect on what I have learnt this year and how I’ve managed to stay afloat during challenging times! The step up from undergraduate to masters level is unquestionably difficult. The amount of work you are given increases and expectations are much higher than undergraduate. If you search for study tips, results will show highlighters, past exam papers and mind maps. Although these are important, as a masters student I benefited more from time management and organisation tips. At masters level, time management and organisation becomes more important than ever and both are key for top grades.
Here are my four top study tips specifically for masters students across all programmes. These methods really helped me manage my workload and time effectively, and helped me achieve some incredible grades.
Study outside the space you relax in
I learnt this tip in secondary school, but it’s relevant for all levels of study. When you relax, it’s important to switch off. If you study and then try to relax in your bedroom, it’s likely you’ll still be thinking about your work. Similarly, when you try to study in your room, it’s possible you’ll get distracted by other things. Separating the spaces allows you to maximise your productivity and ensure you are able to switch off when needed. It is well documented how important breaks are. We all need to take them to ensure clear thinking and maximum energy!
Schedule individual study sessions
You are expected to do a lot of individual study as a masters student, and managing individual study around in-class sessions can be overwhelming. Working in hour blocks (the same way lectures are scheduled), schedule individual study sessions each day to ensure you are using your time effectively. The better time management you have, the more time you will have to relax and do other things outside your studies!
Use a planner
Whether you like physical books or your phone calendar, make sure to use a planner. I found it extremely useful to schedule my individual study sessions in a physical planner. Being able to visualise my entire week helped me set goals and change my plans to better suit my workload. It was also extremely satisfying to tick them off at the end of each session – it made me feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day which is great for motivation.
Create a healthy work-life balance
As previously mentioned, the better your time management, the more time you will have for activities outside your studies. I like to treat university the same way you would a nine to five job. I schedule my time from nine to five, Monday to Friday, and keep my weekends free. This allows me to do things I enjoy at the weekend and helps prevent burnout and tiredness. These are just a few of the tips that really changed the way I studied during my master’s degree. Study practices are personal to each student, but trialling new ways of studying and organising your time at the start of the year is a really good way to create good habits for the rest of your master’s degree.