Graduate students really need to be self-motivated, do the work on time, and plan it ourselves.
- MPhil Economics and Finance student, 2017-18
Nearly every graduate course in Cambridge requires you to be a self-directed, independent learner, capable of taking responsibility for your own learning, taking charge of it, and understanding the genuine impact that you have on your own learning.
This might include:
This includes organising your time and setting your own deadlines, understanding when you learn best, and what study environment you need to learn effectively. It's not about efficiency or productivity, but the process by which you learn, the decisions you make about learning, and how you make use of opportunities for feedback.
It would be great if, during the course of your graduate studies, you had the time and space to learn everything at your own pace and at a very deep level, but this simply isn't realistic. At times, you may feel you have to take a surface approach, skimming material and doing just enough to get by, as you concentrate more on another project or piece of work. Self-directed learning manifests in how you set these priorities, how you assess them, and your understanding of the implications of them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
There are no right or wrong answers here, and you may find that your answers depend on the type of work you're doing, or the other pressures you're facing. But even just thinking through your answers can be beneficial as you begin your course.
CC0 by Jens Leslie via Unsplash
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