Making Your Decision…

If you haven’t already received feedback from the universities you have applied to, you’ll be hearing back very shortly I can assure you. But what happens when you’ve been given your offers? It’s time to make some very important decisions, that’s what! Here are my top 3 factors to consider when making your decision.

  1. The Programme You’ve Applied For: Do your research. For each individual university, pull the subject/profession apart, delving deep into module topics, forms of assessment, work experience opportunities, employability rates and facilities supporting this specific subject area etc. Just because a university is in the top 10 doesn’t mean that for the area you wish to study is rated just as proudly. If you’re certain on what you want to study, focus on the quality, ranking and feedback for that specific major rather than the university itself. You need to most importantly choose a course that best fits around you! Often, you may find a university of a less competitive nature may very well have a more suited programme for yourself, working in your favour!
  2. Location: You’re going to be living here for the next few years of your life. Moving to university is such a large and life changing step as you begin to explore the new and unknown. So you want to make sure that wherever you choose, you’re going to feel most comfortable and happy. At the end of the day, you’re going to be living here, not just visiting (unfortunately)! You need to ensure that the location benefits you, granting you access to facilities you ‘wont be able to live without’. If you’re not happy in your environment, you’re not going to study well. Edge Hill may not exactly be in a well-known location, but this wasn’t a problem as I’m only 30 minutes away by train to Liverpool or Manchester if I fancy a day out!
  3. Size & Type of University: For me, Edge Hill slaughtered all other chances opposing universities had at this one. Universities range from those sprawled  across vast cities, to those tucked away on one ground, all in close-knit. Social atmosphere can also conflict with this one. You’ll know what you will feel most comfortable with once having visited the university for yourself. You’ll know straight away if you’re apprehensive or ready to pack your bags and move in. But it’s certainly something to consider! I mean hey, look at me. I’m able to wake up 10 minutes before a lecture, make myself look presentable and still make it to my seminar a little early. Think of convenience and perhaps wasn’t doesn’t feel quite so daunting for yourself.

Trust me, when considering these important facts when comparing between your options, you’ll just know which university is right for you!

Interview Mayhem

There are so many deceiving misconceptions with regards to interviews. The general assumption and expectation is that you’ll arrive, check the clock every few seconds – counting down the moments until it’s your turn, breathe in, breathe out and then most likely have a panic attack, go home feeling doubtful and then possibly cry a little over your likely failure at such a large opportunity.

Wait… what? That’s not how it goes?

Of course not!

Firstly, understand that if the university wasn’t interested in you in the first place, you wouldn’t have even been called to interview! duh. You’re already a star in the sky, this is your opportunity to prove just how worthy you are, and just how great of a decision they’re going to make when they decide to take you on (which they obviously will because you’re clearly amazing). Numbers drop substantially when you consider all of those that firstly apply, get accepted for interviews, and then actually get a place. So if you’ve received invitation to an interview, stop reading for a moment and give yourself a pat on the back.

Next, seize this opportunity. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately and are organised. When considering the ‘grading criteria’ during an interview, both of these play a vital part and are nearly just as important as what you’re about to ramble on about to your interviewer.

The person interviewing you isn’t going to be half as critical as you think. They’re here to support and make sure they see the best within you. They understand and know you’re going to be nervous! It’s likely that more than half the applicants attending an interview day probably haven’t even endured an interview before in their lives – they know this! They’ll never base their assumption of you on your nerves. It’s normal, often uncontrollable and hey, quite frankly a natural occurrence considering the situation you’ve been put in. I promise they wont base their assumption of you on this.

It’s likely, like I did – you’ll receive an interview day guidance booklet (super helpful, make sure you give it a good read!). It will inform you of such things like the day’s general outlines, what to bring with you, when you’ll get your answer, what to do on arrival, how the interview will run and just generally really useful information.

For me, the BA(Hons) Primary Education course with QTS consisted of knowledge tests (Maths, English & Science), and me having to bring in a child’s book, discussing it generally e.g positives/negatives, why I chose it, how I could incorporate it into my lessons and the children’s learning. Then followed by a few scenario based questions which they weren’t expecting perfect answers for. Like any human, I struggled with a lot of these! My interviewer was super helpful, he either knew where I was coming from and would use further questioning techniques to help me speak my ideas out a little better. Sometimes he’d even answer with me! Sharing his ideas to promote mine. This helped trigger in-depth discussions which I felt really helped him see where I was coming from of which perhaps the questions alone wouldn’t have allowed me to speak about. My interviewer felt like more of a newly found friend than someone testing me. And with there being multiple other applicants having their interviews spread around the room, there was no deadly silence, just a pleasant smile to greet me which never seemed to leave his face.

Long story short, if you’ve got an interview coming up, I’m almost certain you’ll do great! I wish you all the best of luck.

 

Tips for Starting at Edge Hill University

Somehow, crazily enough, I am already A WHOLE 6 MONTHS into university. Boy has it flown by swipes forehead. However, I can now say that I’m officially settled into my newfound routine and day-by-day learning that the daunting and chaotic journey I have decided to embark on is actually one of the most wonderfully exciting chapters of my life in which I am yet to experience. I want to try my best to pass forward this newly established knowledge onto yourselves and encourage you to feel enthusiastic about starting university too!

  • Don’t over-pack and over-buy! – There’s always this enormous rush from the word of “GO!” to buy everything each and every online list has to recommend for you. DON’T GO OVERBOARD. Otherwise, like me, you’ll find yourself over cumbered with items that are still hidden in the back of your cupboard while day-by-day you’re still using other people’s oven mittens, selecting from a range of colours and styles stacked up on the top of the microwave. Pack and buy less than what you think you’ll need, this way, you’ll be spot on. I know IKEA can be overwhelming with amazing household objects you never thought you’d crave to own so badly, but I promise you, you’ll be better off if you put the item back down and walk away.
  • Budget – It’s super difficult not to imagine all the glorious items you could spend your student finance on once it arrives in your vulnerable student account, but throw those ideas out of your head right now and try to think logically about this. Either purchase a notebook or even make a note on your phone and simply write down each weeks budget and take note of your spending’s to keep on track so you aren’t left weeping away your sorrows with the globe; making tweets about your newfound poverty.
  • Don’t spend all your money on alcohol – You’d think this would be obvious, but freshers’ week and upcoming student events at the SU bar will get the better of you! I don’t drink, so I’m winning on this one.
  • You don’t have to buy every textbook. When you arrive at uni, it is very likely that (like me) you’ll be given a reading list and told to buy every textbook on the list, or at least two or three, but don’t fall into the trap! You’ll end up spending a lot of money on something that you’re going to read once. I wound up ordering 3 books which came to a pricey total of almost £80! One of them is even still wrapped up in its packaging… shh. Edge Hill’s library has EVERY book you will ever possibly need! If by some small chance, you can’t find that all important book you need, you have the opportunity to request for it – it should be available to you in no time! Paperbacks, hardbacks and e-books are all readily available in vast quantities!
  • Get to know your way around. Getting to know your way around will make you feel a lot more at ease! Take a trip into town with some new friends, the Edge Hill bus comes every 15 minutes and is free to use to students! Or, you’re only a 10 minute walk from exciting Ormskirk. Walk to your lectures with your course-mates! You’ll probably still get lost, but hey, you’ll get used to it in no time!
  • Join clubs and societies. There are so many that Edge Hill has to offer! There’s even a Scooby-Doo society for crying out loud. Got an interest and there isn’t a society that takes your fancy? Start one up, it’s simple enough!
  • Buy an NUS card. NUS cards only cost £12 each (for 12 months). You can use them near enough everywhere, you’ll get your money back in savings within a few days, especially if like me you’re an avid shopper, I can assure you! They’re even available for immediate purchase in the SU shop on campus.

It’s all going to be okay.

Study Tips, Exams Made Easier ✓

Hola! So exams are now over and I am back into the full swing of things this semester. This semester I am studying Business Economics, Marketing for Business, Business Start Up and Spanish and so if anyone is interested in getting some insights to any of these modules feel free to message me. These last two weeks have been a case of studying for exams and if you happen to struggle with revision (like I have done in the past) I have provided some of my study tips in which I have learned and hopefully they will come in helpful for you and your next exam.

There are a number of different types of exams in which people sit. This could be multiple choice, essay questions or practical exams and it just so happened mine was three essay questions in two hours on Operations Management concepts and theories. Okay, when reading this it can sound a little daunting, I mean it took me three months to write my essay for the assignment so how am I going to write three in the space of two hours? If you’re reading this while you’re in school or college it can come across even more intimidating but I can assure you it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

To prepare for an exam like this I would suggest reading a wide selection of books and journal articles to ensure you have that background as to what your exam will be about. From this you can then start making notes which can be in more depth from your lectures and seminars. The way in which I do this would be spider diagrams. I find this extremely helpful when you just need to see all the information spread across the one page. Use a number of coloured pencils and pens to stimulate your brain and enable it to jog your memory when it comes to the exam. On a positive it makes your notes look that bit better.

When you begin to feel more comfortable that you have written down enough information, the next task would be to break these notes down smaller and smaller until it’s just a sentence that holds enough information about the subject you are revising. These sentences can then be put onto flash cards and you can practice memorising them. When it comes down to the exam you will have this bank of sentences which contain wider information and the essay will just flow. You will feel confident and prepared for your exam and with the right amount of effort put in you will get that first everyone wants.

I can understand that this revision technique comes across tedious however it does work significantly well for myself to the point where I feel confident in my exams. It all comes down to confidence and if you are confident in your exam you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Hope this information will help you with your revision.

Have a great week.

J. x

Exams are imminent but keep calm.

Well it’s finally May, which means exams season has arrived. Gulp! But fear not because while I have no more exams to sit (or coursework to submit for that matter) I am here to give you some tips for surviving those exams

1. Revise! Revise! Revise!

This is an obvious one, but for all exams you have coming you up you should revise in any way shape or form that works for you and your learning style. In my case this was typing up my notes, making mind maps about key studies and practicing past paper questions. Also don’t leave it all to the night before – space it out over a period of time

2. Read and re-read the question(s).

You’ll probably have heard of this before, when you’re in the exam itself and you have the paper with the questions on read and re-read the question(s) very carefully. This way you’ll understand what it’s asking you better than if you just see a question you want to answer (in the case of exams where you have a choice of questions) or have to answer and launch straight into answering it without thinking about it properly

3. Spend time planning

Just as you should spend time revising for the exam, you should also spend 5-10 minutes of the exam planning your answer to the question (if it’s an essay based one). This way if you run out of time the examiner can briefly see what you would of written given more time.

4. Forget about it

Whilst you should focus on your exams before and during them, after the exam is over forget it! Don’t bog your mind down with worrying thoughts of things like “ooh I should of put that in my answer” or “Damn I knew I should of answered C instead of A”. It will do you no good.

5. Eat and sleep well

It is important to eat a balanced diets and get enough sleep regardless of whether you have exams or not, but around exam season this is particularly important. After all your mind needs the right nutrients and sufficient rest to function correctly.

Well all that’s left to say is best of luck in your exams, and remember at the end of the day all you can do is your best. Do your best, follow the above tips and exam season will be far less stressful.

Dissertation – Aka the D word.

The majority of my workload at the moment is my dissertation write up – the 10,000 word lab report I have to hand in later this month along with my log book (a physical presentation of all the effort I’ve put into my dissertation) and believe me it will be one huge relief when I finally get it handed in. But until I do I still have another 5000 or so words to write and I thought I’d give you some tips when it comes to writing and doing  your dissertation in third year.

1. Pick a topic that interests you – This goes without saying, I originally wanted to do something on obesity/eating behaviours but got a sports psychology dissertation topic instead, it has however challenged me and that can be a good thing from time to time.

2. Do plenty of research – This is another obvious one (at least it should be). Once you find out what your topic is or your topic of choice has been approved, research it in depth. That way you can get a feel for what has already been done on it and use the articles and books you find as references in your write up.

3. Make sure you’re organised – My organisation and time management skills had never been so tested until I started doing my dissertation. It’s a long process so make sure you plan your time and keep back ups of related electronic files in different places (laptop, external hard-drive, usb stick, university pc hard-drives).

4. Meet with your tutor – One thing that’s been a big part of the dissertation process for me is meeting with my supervisor on a regular basis as my course requires us to have 3 formal meetings per term and we’re are also allowed ad-hoc (additional informal ones) meetings along the way. Your tutor will offer advice on what needs doing and will answer questions you may have

5. Methods for recruiting participants– This applies for dissertations where you are conducting a study of some kind. Whilst you should never force people into taking part (which is unethical) do use things like posters, social media and emails to tell people about your study and invite them to take part. I even used word of mouth and eventually I got the data and participants I needed.

Anyway I hope this entry has been informative and I wish you ever success when you come to do your dissertations.

Exam Time

The month of May will soon be upon us and that can only mean one thing…exam time! I have two exams coming up in may, a 2 hour cognitive psychology one and 1 1/2 hour social psychology exam. So I thought I’d provide you all with a few tips for a successful exam period 🙂

1. Revise

This may seem the most obvious one, and one you’ve heard a thousand times before, but as the american president Benjamin Franklin once said “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. It is no good going into an exam thinking you can blag it from what material you do actually remember (if any at all). Doing well on exam requires you to have fully revised all material for the exam you’re sitting.

2. Read the question carefully 

This is a trap I fell into in my AS level History exams, I did read the questions but ended up going off at a tangent and as such failed the exams (I had two, one on Henry VIII and another on Russia during the early-mid 20th century) because I talked about irrelvant information. So the moral of the story is take a couple of minutes at the beginning of the exam to read each question carefully and consider in detail what it’s asking you to discuss.

3. Check your answers at the end of the exam

This is another one you’ll have hear a million or so times, if you happen to finish an exam before it is due to end go back and check what you’ve written matches up with the question and if a it’s multiple choice question you’re happy with the one you’ve ticked/circled.

4. Forget about the exam afterwards

We’ve all been there (myself included), we’ve come out of an exam room and the post exam discussions begin where people ask each other what they put for a particular question which only ends up with some people mentally scolding themselves for not putting something similar. My advice: go home and forget about the exam (at least until the result is released).

With that said good luck with your a-level exams and remember exams aren’t the be all and end all of academia (they are important though) 🙂