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July 11, 2023, by aayar4

How to Prepare for Postgraduate Study

By Amaia Robertson Nogues, American Studies and English student

If you have already finished undergraduate study and are starting postgraduate study, you will be no stranger to hard work and organisation. However, here’s some quick tips on how to prepare for the upcoming term and make sure you start the year with your best foot forward.

1. Relax and reflect

Firstly, take a break! You have already achieved so much, and taking the time to acknowledge your success is a great way to practise mindfulness. A rested mind is a healthy mind, so make sure to unwind, try fun things, and spend time with your loved ones. It’s unsustainable to be constantly productive, and pushing yourself unnecessarily increases your chances of burnout later down the line. So, take the time to sit back and make the most of a relaxing summer!  

2. Familiarise yourself with what’s ahead

If you are already enrolled onto a postgraduate programme, it is always helpful to familiarise yourself with your new course. Check out your optional and core module choices, and try setting some goals for what you want to achieve from your upcoming studies. Remember, these don’t necessarily have to be academic goals. Maybe you’re moving away, maybe you’re trying out a new field or area of study and setting targets to reflect on later in the year can be really helpful to track your progress and celebrate your successes.  

3. Organisation

For any degree, maintaining good organisation practises from the get-go is one of the best ways to make your life easier down the line. Sorting through all of the research papers and journal chapters you’ve hoarded on your laptop over the years might sound like overkill, but having resources that are easily accessible is the best way to get the most out of your work and make sure you don’t end up frantically searching for that one crucial document you swore you had somewhere.

Also, if you’re changing universities, make sure you download all of the files you need from your Onedrive so you don’t lose any work! 

4. Reading and research

The time before postgraduate study is also the perfect time to get ahead with reading. If you already know your curriculum, familiarising yourself with texts ahead of time can make life easier when term begins. If not, then reading canonical texts on your subject or introductory books can be a great way to prepare for your studies or help you transition into a new area of research.  

5. Refresh your mind

Getting back into the academic headspace can also be helpful to make the most of your studies. For instance, going back over old notes and reminding yourself of key concepts can be really beneficial, or even having a refresher on how to write to a high academic standard can prove helpful. At Nottingham, the libraries have a bunch of academic skills resources, and there are weekly seminars or one-to-one sessions available with the Learning Development team, so make sure to set yourself up for success. You can also check out the Further Study webpages for a variety of support options.

And remember, securing a place in a postgraduate programme is no small feat, so congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come! 

If you’re unsure if postgraduate study is for you, check out the dedicated Careers webpages to explore further. 

If you’re starting your postgraduate course this year, remember we offer individual support to all postgraduate taught students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans. Our careers advisers are linked to faculties and can give you advice relevant to your area of study and interests. 

Posted in Further studyGraduating in 2023