Studying in the UK: How to Survive a Full-Time Master's

by Angeliki Tsolka

One of the most popular destinations for a Master’s degree abroad is the UK. The explanation is quite simple: students have the opportunity to gain expert knowledge in a top university and experience a rich culture and a diverse environment.

UK universities have a high standard of teaching and research and also feature cutting edge study facilities. Basically, you can’t go wrong if you choose a study degree in the United Kingdom, since you’ll make the best impression the moment you start applying for jobs or maybe decide to continue your studies with a doctoral degree.

Find Masters in the UK

Not sure where to study in the UK? Check Master programmes offered by these top UK universities:

Time to know more about the daily student life at a university in the UK, such as teaching style and some of UK’s university traditions you can look forward to.

Teaching style in UK universities

While attending a university in the UK, students are encouraged to be creative and independent and they develop their critical thought and gain confidence. Moreover, as an international student, you will improve your English skills and soon you’ll start talking native British without realising it.

However, you’ll have to put in a little effort. A Master’s degree implies many hours of studying, communicating and co-operating with new colleagues coming from all over the world. Stress, happiness, disappointment, and competitiveness are part of a Master's programme.

Experience innovative British teaching by choosing one of these subjects in the UK:

Surely, you can overcome the downside of a demanding Master’s degree. Here are some tips that can help you survive through the rough, but rewarding two years of studies.

1. Seize the fresher's week experience

Before the official start of the academic year, universities have what is called “Fresher's week”. This is an old tradition present throughout most British universities, where students are simply invited to spend time with each other, socialise and get to know the university and surroundings a little better. Take advantage of this week to meet new people, make friends and get involved in unions or any sports.

All these things will help you, especially in the difficult days of the programme. You can arrange to see friends and relax, go out for a drink, chat about your problems or thoughts and even get help for an assignment.

Cliché or not, but a Fresher’s week could be the beginning of a lasting friendship with some of your international colleagues.

2. Attend academic workshops – they are useful for your studies!

Most universities offer workshops in various fields, where they invite lead experts to share their knowledge. These workshops can truly help you with your studies; some of them are meant to improve your English, others teach you how to write essays and reports and anything else that might be relevant to your studies.

By attending them, you will be able to answer some concerns and questions, understand how British universities work and how you must work in your new environment in order to avoid frustration and stress when the time for assignments comes.

Find out more about student life in these cities from the United Kingdom:

3. It’s ok to bother your professors with questions

Whether during lectures or for an assignment, questions will definitely occur but do not hesitate to ''bother'' the professors. They always provide their e-mail and are willing to help you with any concerns and will answer any questions when they are not in class or out of office hours.

From the beginning of the Master's, it is good to start to know each professor. This way, they will recognise you and see that you are really interested in their lecture and the education they provide you. Do not hesitate to express your opinion or ask questions. It will help further with your studying, research, and the exams.

Check out more reasons to study abroad in the UK.

4. Don’t stress out during the exam period!

The most stressful period of an academic year is the exam session. Some postgraduate programmes do not have exams but have many assignments instead or vice versa! Most universities provide online past papers for every module.

After the study, start from the past papers and try to answer the questions, without cheating yourself! Ask a friend to come and help. You can help each other, even if you are not in the same programme. Ask one another questions from past papers.

If all friends have exams during the same period, buy a cheap recorder or download a recording programme from the internet. You can record yourself and hear it afterwards to check. If any questions occur, do not forget to ask the professors.

Exam period does not mean staying indoors and studying from early in the morning till late at night. If the weather is bad, take a break every 2-3 hours, watch some TV, chat with a friend or family, read a book, do whatever relaxes you and then start again. If the weather is good, take a walk, go for a quick lunch outdoors with a friend, but do not lose the sense of time.

Study a Master's in the UK

5. Set up a learning schedule!

See which modules are more difficult or have more gaps and questions and start with them. Put a timeline to cover all the material or the necessary parts. Leave time to make revisions.

Make the last revision the night before and sleep early in order to wake up fresh.

A couple of days before the exams check the university's policy for the exams, such as what are you allowed to bring at the examinations. For instance, there are certain types of calculators that you can use, and attending an exam without the correct one will be a disaster.

Many professors do not lose time, they give assignments from the first week and set deadlines. In order to be organised and keep up with the load of work, better buy a small calendar-notebook. Write down all dates. Some deadlines may overlap! No reason to panic.

When the first assignment is given, do not lose time. Start doing some research.

Read the experiences of these students who followed a Master’s programme in the UK:

The conclusion is you should be a little disciplined, organised and responsible and everything will work out just fine. Enjoy your time as a student in the UK, study hard, but remember to have fun as well!

Prepare your dissertation thesis in time

At the end of a postgraduate programme, a dissertation is necessary. This means you will develop a research project totally on your own. During the academic year, you will discover subjects that will interest you. Keep a note of them. When you have found the subject, approach the professor that you think that will be more helpful or have information to provide. Try to start as soon as possible because you will never know what amount of work is needed.

Try to do most of the work early, in case you need to meet other people or do questionnaires, make an appointment or find a lot of people to ask. Usually, the presentation occurs in the middle of September. Enjoy the holidays from July until the beginning of August, and then finish the project. Remember: always keep in touch with your supervisor!

In conclusion, all the above tips may differ for each person. For some students, it may be helpful whereas for others it may not. Many of them are advice from other students, friends and family members who attended a Master's degree course in the UK and helped me survive!

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