Brittney: Exams and study advice

What study habits have you adopted for your degree?
My study habits have changed quite a bit. As an undergraduate, I generally wrote one rough draft for a paper. Now, I write on average around seven. Each professor has their own preference for how they like papers to be written and that needs to be taken into account. Also, I am not used to the exam system. I have spent more time practising writing answers to essay questions.

What tips do you have for preparing for a master’s at King’s?
For any degree with mathematics or economics, I would take a refresher course on Khan Academy. Yes, it is a shameless plug. Khan Academy rocks.

How do you plan ahead and manage your work load?
I have a planner that I use for long-term projects. In the short term, I use Google calendar and my iPad to send me reminders.

This is a picture of my husband wearing a scarf that I knit for him.

This is a picture of my husband wearing a scarf that I knit for him.

Do you have a hobby that helps you balance studying with your other interests?
Yes, I do! I love to knit. It is rhythmic and so it helps calm my nerves. My husband and I also go hiking when we can. We spent a week hiking around Scotland.

What sort of academic support is offered at King’s?
The library offers a lot of support for different things. Professors are also very helpful. My department offers a course for postgraduate dissertations.

Is there any other advice you would offer re: study skills at a master’s level? 
Once you arrive, I would look at dissertations from your degree that are in the library. These are good examples of what will be expected from you. My tutor (a professor assigned to you) suggested this to me. It really helped me take my writing to the next level.

Ingvild: 5 tips for a more enjoyable exam period

Now that it’s time for exams and papers again, I am returning to the routines I developed in the exam period of the first term of my MA. When completing my BA, we only had one week to study for our exams, and then we had all four exams within a week, often a few on the same day. So, my transition to King’s where we have almost two months of studying, writing and prepping for exams was quite a big one. So much freedom to take advantage of! Here are 5 tips for you who will be going through the same transition to a long exam period as me next year, which hopefully will help you not to stress and worry about them. I have found them to actually be quite enjoyable!

  1. Count things you have completed, not hours. Make lists, be organized, and remember to check things off your lists when completed. This allows you to set day-to-day goals and weekly goals based on the work you get done, and not simply hours spent studying. We all know how our focus and effectiveness can vary throughout a day…
  2. Take care of your body. Yes, you’ve heard it a million times but that’s because it’s so important. Remember to sleep, eat well, and exercise throughout your exam period and you will see results not only in your work, but also mentally.
  3. Go outside. Sitting still at a desk for 12 hours a day is not good for anything, especially not your work. Go outside when you have a break, eat your lunch outside, or go for walks in the morning/evening. It helps, I promise.
  4. Be social. Although it is a stressful time of year, and you feel like you have too much to do and not enough time, remember to hang out with your classmates/friends/family in settings where you do not have to think about school. This will encourage you to work harder when you’re studying, and make you happier!
  5. Take time off. Be strict with yourself and work when you are studying, but remember to be just as strict with the time you allow yourself to have “off”. Maybe you have one day a week where you do not do any work, and just have fun. Or maybe you go out of town for a weekend with some friends. Or maybe you go home and see your family and relax for a bit. Whatever works for you, just remember to allow yourself some time to not worry and stress about school.

…And if you find these tips boring and not useful for you, do not forget that King’s has great study skills, tips, and guides online (I found these very useful for my first exam period at King’s).

Tam’s exam and study tips

What study habits have you adopted for your degree thus far?
My degree is mostly qualitative, therefore the best habits I have adopted is to do a lot of reading. Students are given a reading list in the first weeks of the degree, and my advice would be to read as many of those books on the list as possible as it allows you to really open your mind and get into the essence of the degree. I am sure many people who are thinking of this degree do this already however it really is good practice to be up to date with world news and social media, which helps during class discussions.

What tips do you have for preparing for a master’s at King’s?
The main tip is to do your research on exactly what topics you are interested in; this will come in handy when selecting your modules because the more informed you are the easier the choice will become. Another tip would be to start thinking about your dissertation topic; the earlier you start thinking about it and preparing for it the more advantaged you are. Within the first few months you will be required to submit a 1000 word proposal of your topic and while that doesn’t sound like much, with all the other things going on, it’s worth having a topic in mind as early as possible.

How do you plan ahead and manage your workload?
I currently work as well as studying so I don’t have much time for anything. Therefore, time management is essential for me. Once you get into the groove, it becomes a way of life. I have very good rapport with my tutors, therefore even if I can’t make the class they know that I am on it and I wont miss a thing. Accordingly I’d advise that you keep tutors informed of your movements if you miss anything in class. Some modules publish their material online in the Keats portal, which makes life very easy as I can login anywhere in the world and catch up on anything I missed. The final thing is planning ahead; when I know I have an important week ahead at work, I make sure I utilize my weekends and any free time to be ahead with my studies. You are given all your assessment dates and deadlines early in the year so you really can plan ahead months in advance making sure you don’t waste any spare time.

What sort of academic support is offered at King’s?
King’s has very engaging supervisors, which is useful. The university also offers classes throughout the year on pretty much any subject, and the classes are free to King’s students. I have listed a few examples below:

Public speaking workshops
Academic English skills
Study support skills
Modern language courses
Free online language resources for king’s students.

If you are a non-native English language speaker, what sort of support does King’s have for such students?
The English language center provides support tailored to the student, a lot of my non – native English-speaking friends told me they just showed up, had a chat with the department, and they were given a lot of support.

Is there any other advice you would offer re: study skills at a master’s level?
If you follow this link you will be able to see all study support on offer to King’s students.

Shayda: Accommodation in London

Hello offer holders and prospective students!

Spring is almost here, and with the influx of sunshine I’d mark it as a great time to visit London and familiarise yourself with the transport links and vibrant corners of the capital city. Finding accommodation in an unfamiliar city can be daunting for anyone, so it would be a great idea to plan a visit to London ahead of moving here. Signing up with letting agencies can get a little pricey, so I’d recommend being open to alternatives like spareroom.com and gumtree.com (while being mindful of your safety, of course!). Facebook is also another avenue worth exploring, as there are King’s student groups, sometimes specific to a course or just for students in general, where spare rooms are advertised. This might work more in your favour, as someone else has already done the hard work of finding accommodation close to university and mapping the most efficient route of getting there! The best advice I can give is not to put it off too long; the earlier you start looking, the better!

Shayda and a friend crossing Abbey Road.

Shayda and a friend crossing Abbey Road.

Travel around London quickly becomes second nature once you start a routine, so don’t feel too intimidated by the Tube map! Sign up for your student Oyster card as soon as you’re able to, so you’re not stuck paying expensive travel fees, and then go and explore! You’ll soon find that London is actually a lot smaller than you might think. While the Tube map is great for underground navigation, it can also be quite deceiving as a lot of stops are only a short walk apart from each other. If you have a smart phone, download the City Mapper app (it’s free!) and give yourself a day to try and walk to all of your destinations. Our roads are a bit spaghetti-shaped, but soon you’ll be navigating them like a pro.

Good luck!

Shayda

Tam’s Accommodation Advice

I am a part-time master’s student who currently lives in a village north of London. I commute to London via King’s Cross, therefore my experience will only be useful to part-time students! It takes me half an hour to get to King’s Cross, 15 minutes to get to Holborn by tube, and then it’s a 10 minute leisurely walk to the Strand Campus. Therefore my commute is about an hour altogether, which is pretty much how long it takes to get from one place to another within London.

The perks of living outside London: you can use your downtime to explore the local countryside.

The perks of living outside London: you can use your downtime to explore the local countryside.

Part-time study translates to around 5 hours of in-class time per week, so I currently have to be on the Strand for 2 hours on Thursday and 2 hours on Friday. Other than that, I can study from home. King’s has absolutely fantastic online facilities so it is really easy to keep in touch with tutors and students. King’s also makes it easy to view course material online through Keats, the internal network for students and professors. I work in addition to studying, but my work is also flexible and allows me to work from home. The time I do need to go in to the office I try and make it coincide with the days I am in London for university. That said, I only travel to London 3-4 times a week maximum, which rarely exceeds £40 a week. Bearing in mind living outside London means everything else is cheap, £40 is not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

That said, my advice to you (especially if you are a part-time student with reduced work hours) is this: living outside the M25 and commuting to university is very manageable, therefore it is definitely something that should be considered. The campus is so central that it is close to all main stations such as Waterloo, London Bridge and King’s Cross St. Pancras. I enjoy the best of both worlds: the country living, walks and reading in the parks, while also being able to go to London when it’s time to work!

Ingvild’s Accommodation Advice

In deciding how to live while studying at King’s College London, there is a lot of information available and a lot of places to look. Here are three things that I wish I knew / wish I knew to think of while looking for my accommodation last year. Hopefully the following will help you with making a decision:

1) Start researching different neighborhoods early so you can see how the prices develop from now on until summertime. It can be useful to get in touch now rather than later if you are trying to find private accommodation. Further, it helps to see the difference between neighborhoods; some can be close in distance, but very different in price! Doing research beforehand will likely save you some money.

Ingvild's photo2) Instead of only looking at the different places in relation to tube stops / bus stops, also look at their distance to parks. After having lived in London for six months now, I have realized how many great parks there are in this city. The parks are beautifully kept, and are a safe escape from the busy streets of London no matter what time of year. I live very close to Regent’s Park, and use it at least 4 times a week for different activities. I love to do my morning run there, I go for walks to clear my head, and when it’s not too cold I love meeting friends there and have a picnic. So, remember this when looking at places!!

3) I would also recommend looking into King’s residences, private accommodations, and flats to rent privately in the beginning. Seeing all the options that are available to you instead of limiting yourself in the early stages are important in order to find the perfect living situation for yourself while doing your postgraduate degree at King’s. London has so many great areas to live in, which makes it hard to choose! Therefore, take the time you need to find your perfect fit.

I hope these tips help! If not, ask any other questions you may have here as a comment, or ask us on the Facebook page.

Accommodation Advice from Brittany

Before moving to London, one of my biggest concerns was where in the world was I going to live? London is huge with so many different boroughs, and I was not sure if a one hour commute was normal. I was unsure whether I wanted to live in student accommodation, so I spent a lot of time on Zoopla. This was both super encouraging and terrifying. I ended up using Gumtree, which is the British equivalent of Craigslist. As Craiglist has its good and bad seeds, so does Gumtree. If you come with some time to spare before classes, I would suggest Airbnb. (King’s students even have a club, so you can possibly receive a discount!) That way, you can give yourself about a week to check out different places. I have lived in two studio apartments so far, and they both consist of the basic things: bed, fridge, toilet. I would not expect much, but you will spend most of your time out and about so you just need a place to relax and get refreshed.  If you can, rent from the person who actually owns the place. They will be a lot more helpful. My first landlady felt more like an aunt than my landlady. She was super responsive and was very lenient when I had to pay in huge wads of cash before I had a bank account.

Brittany's photoRight now, I live in Leytonstone. It was the home of Alfred Hitchcock. We have some cool murals of his movies and a hotel named after him where my parents will stay when they visit in April.

My favorite place though would have to be the Wild Goose bakery. If you get the chance, you need to have their pancakes. They have a secret ingredient, and I love it.

Matt’s Accommodation Advice

I’ve lived in London for four years, initially as a worker and then as part-time worker/student. I have also lived in many different areas – a very expensive way of seeing the city – so I have good knowledge of the private rented accommodation.

To be honest, living in private rented accommodation in London is expensive. Affordable housing is in short supply and high rent has priced many people out of central locations.

The good news: London is one of the most diverse cities in Europe and is built on an exciting array of cultures. This is reflected in the multiplicity of unique areas linked to the centre through an excellent (albeit busy) underground tube line. Moreover, if you give yourself enough time there are some brilliant bargains that will make you the envy of your less organised friends.

To get you started, here are my recommendations for locations that balance atmosphere, transport connections and rent that won’t break the bank!

The North
Beyond the expensive Angel area is Finsbury Park – my current home. Connected to the centre by the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, it offers quick links to university. An oasis at the end of Seven Sisters road, the area is renowned for its cafes, restaurants and pubs. It is the number one spot for Turkish food in London and is a stone’s throw away from trendy Stoke Newington in Hackney.

Matt's photo Finsbury ParkThe South 
Camberwell feels like a village within the city. A strong community feel stems from the numerous independent cafes and restaurants that line the High Street, or main road. There is no underground station driving up rent, but top bus links will get you to university in 20 minutes. It’s a short walk way from the bustling nightlife of Peckham, too.

The East
Mile End. Perhaps not the most picturesque part of London but very close to fashionable Hackney without the inflated rent. Shoreditch, Haggerston and Dalston are all easily accessible by bus and Victoria Park is only a short walk away. The Central line will get you into the city centre in 15 minutes.

The West
The west of London is notoriously expensive but there are some areas that can be affordable if you spend some time looking. Putney is known for its affluence but also has some good student-esque accommodation if you shop around. Right on the Thames, the area offers a pleasant atmosphere and is close to London’s museum quarter in Kensington.

There are so many interesting areas in London. I’d advise doing as much research as you can to find out where’s right for you. The important thing to note is that university is about experience and that is exactly what this vibrant capital offers!

Q&A with Brittney, MSc Public Policy and Management

PG Brittney's photoWhich living person do you most admire, and why? My husband. He works full times, supports me, and is willing to listen to my countless retelling of class readings.

Which book changed your life? Oxford Handbook of Public Policy. Just kidding: The Man Who Was Thursday.

What is your most treasured possession? My wedding ring, I guess. It is the only thing that is always with me.

Who would play you in the film of your life? Emma Watson (One of the first places I went in London was King’s Cross.)

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
T-Rex, to confront my fears started by Jurassic Park.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? New Public Management, it haunts me.

How do you relax?
I wander around London finding new delicious food or cool historical spots.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Desmond Tutu

If you could go back in time, where would you go? Victorian England, just for the holidays.

What is your favourite word? Tonterías

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I would study more maths. Never thought I would say that.

When were you happiest?
In London, I loved climbing all the way to the top of St Paul’s.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an ambassador!

What inspired you to study your field?
Teaching. Education is the key to success but poorly managed it becomes a wall.

What would your best friend say is your best quality? Quirky and honest.

Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Brittney Regal is a postgraduate student at the School of Management & Business, King’s College London. Britt studied International Studies and Spanish for undergraduate at Westminster College in the United States. The attached photo is relevant to public policy which is the particular field, which she studies. The picture overlooks much of central London surrounding the Thames. All of the buildings, schools, and commerce within this picture are regulated by government. The programme at King’s focuses on the intersection of the public with government. 

For more information about Brittney’s course, please follow the link.