Studying for a master’s degree helps you learn specialist skills and become an expert in your chosen field. A higher degree will demonstrate your advanced knowledge and give you a competitive advantage in your industry. Graduates with a master’s degree typically have better career prospects when compared to their peers without a higher qualification.
There are loads of great reasons to get a master’s degree, but earning a postgraduate qualification is hard work. Enrolling in a master’s program is a big commitment, and you will need to invest significant amounts of money and time in completing the course. Earning a master’s degree isn’t easy, but for most graduates, it’s worth it!
Here are top study tips for students enrolling in master’s degree programs:
Pick the right course
Enrolling in a master’s program is a huge investment, so you must pick the right course. Your master’s degree will help you advance your career, and you should always pick a course with your professional goals in mind. For example, a graduate hoping to become a sports journalist or reporter should explore sports journalism master’s programs. This course will teach them the specialist skills and knowledge needed to break into the field of sports journalism.
A master’s degree allows you to specialize in a particular topic and become an expert in your chosen field. There are thousands of master’s programs on offer across a huge variety of subjects. Pick a specialty that aligns with your future career goals. You must also research any courses that you’re interested in to learn what will be involved. Have a clear understanding of what will be expected before you enroll in a master’s program.
Get ahead with reading
Most master’s programs require a significant amount of self-study. Reading up on your subject before your course begins will help you prepare and plan for success. Get hold of the reading list before your program starts, and do as much background reading as possible. Buying your coursebooks early will also mean that you can purchase second-hand books and find the best deals before your classmates.
Stick with a study routine
Studying for a master’s degree is hard work. If you want to succeed, then you must be organized and get into a study routine. A clear study schedule will help you manage your time well and keep on top of your coursework and assessment deadlines. Read your course syllabus carefully and make a note of all deadlines. You can use your course syllabus as a guide when you are writing your study plan. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to complete study tasks and avoid leaving coursework to the last minute.
Following a consistent study, routine is even more crucial if you opt for an online master’s program. Online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to choose your learning schedule and fit learning around your lifestyle. However, this means that you must be strict with your time management and extremely self-disciplined when it comes to your learning. Create a study routine and stick with it.
One of the advantages of distance learning is that you can choose to study at a time and place that suits your lifestyle. You may decide that you’re more productive early in the morning or that you prefer to work in the evenings. Study at a time that suits you, but make sure that you get into a study routine and stay on track to achieve your learning goals.
Studies show that 80 to 95 percent of college students engage in procrastination, and roughly 75 percent consider themselves procrastinators. Procrastination is a serious issue for students, especially for those who are enrolled in online programs. It is easy to become distracted and lose your focus, but this can cause you to fall behind in your studies. Learning how to avoid procrastinating is essential, particular for students who are trying to juggle learning with work and other responsibilities.
Procrastination is a problem for most students, but there are ways to overcome it. Here are some tips to help you avoid procrastinating while studying:
- Boost your motivation by focusing on your goals, e.g. you hope to land your dream job or secure a top promotion after you complete your master’s degree program.
- Remove distractions from your learning space such as smartphones, TVs, magazines, etc. Keep your phone out of sight while you study to avoid temptation.
- Ask your classmates or professors for support if you are struggling with a piece of coursework or don’t understand the instructions given. Many students put off studying because they don’t understand a particular project or learning task.
- Reward yourself when you complete learning tasks and goals.
- Plan regular study breaks to give your mind and body time to re-energize.
- Avoid feeling overwhelmed by spreading out your workload and giving yourself plenty of time to complete learning tasks.
Create healthy habits
It is easy to fall into unhealthy habits when you are studying for a higher degree, especially if you are trying to balance learning with work and other responsibilities. However, you must make your health a priority, regardless of how busy you are. Create healthy habits that focus on diet, exercise, and wellbeing.
Eating a healthy diet will keep your energy levels up and help you avoid gaining unwanted weight while you are studying for your master’s degree. Ensure proper nutrition by eating three balanced meals a day. You should avoid processed junk food that is high in saturated fat, sugar, and salt. Eating healthy snacks in between meals can help you stay focused on your learning tasks. The best healthy snacks to keep you focused while studying are dried fruit, almonds, dark chocolate, and edamame.
Experts recommend that adults should do at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, which equates to around 20 minutes a day. Finding the time to exercise can be a challenge when you have a busy schedule, but you can easily include more activity in your routine. Try walking instead of driving short distances or do a short workout DVD at home first thing in the morning. You will find it much easier to exercise once you start including it in your routine.
Health is not just physical; your mental health is just as important. One of the easiest ways to improve your mental wellbeing while studying for a master’s degree is by scheduling plenty of downtime into your routine. Make time for relaxation and do things that you enjoy outside of work and studying. Spending time with family and friends can also reduce stress and improve your sense of wellbeing.
Take frequent study breaks
Working non-stop for long periods can cause you to feel stressed, drained, and exhausted. This is why you must take frequent study breaks and avoid cramming or overworking yourself. According to socialtriggers.com, you should take a short break of between 5 and 15 minutes every hour or so. Take a longer break every 2-4 hours of studying to remain productive.
Taking frequent breaks will give your mind and body time to refresh, increasing energy levels and improving your focus. A study break is ideal for getting some fresh air, relaxing, or eating a healthy energy-rich snack.
Keep in touch with your tutor
Your tutor is an important point of contact while you are studying for a master’s degree. Keep in regular contact with your tutor and ask them for advice if you are having any difficulties. Your tutor will provide you with valuable feedback throughout your master’s program. Take their feedback on board, and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.
Balance studies with your lifestyle
Enrolling in a master’s program will change your lifestyle, and you may have to make sacrifices, e.g., you might have less time to go out a socialize. Your master’s degree is important, but you must still make time for other areas of your life. Remember that you need to take time to relax and re-energize. Schedule time to socialize and enjoy hobbies and interests away from your studies.
According to elearningindustry.com, sticking with a strict schedule is one of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy balance between study, work, and personal life. Make every minute of your day count to maximize your time. If you usually have a lie-in at the weekends, then give up this luxury and study in the morning instead. This means that you’ll have more time to spend socializing or doing things that you enjoy.
Earning a master’s degree isn’t easy, but it can advance your career and bring about a wealth of benefits. Students with a postgraduate degree generally have better job prospects and higher earning potential when compared to those without.
If you are thinking about enrolling in a master’s program, do your research and choose a course suited to your lifestyle and career goals. The above tips will help you prepare for your master’s program and achieve learning success.