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You are going to read a blog post about studying for an online Masters degree. For each question 31 – 36, choose the correct answer.
An Online Masters
Are you thinking of studying for an online Masters degree? With just a month to go before (hopefully!) finishing mine, I’d like to share my experiences with readers of this blog. I’m going to tell you some of the things I wish someone had told me before I started!
The first thing to say is that postgraduate study is seriously hard work and you have to be sure why you’re doing it. There are lots of reasons why people take Masters degrees. Maybe you finished your undergraduate studies and you don’t know what to do next. Maybe your employer wants you to improve your qualifications, or you’re thinking of changing career altogether. Maybe you’ve always been passionate about a particular subject and just want to know more. Some of these reasons are probably better than others. My advice is simply this: if you’re half-hearted about further study, don’t do it. There’s too much potential for wasted time and money.
It’s also worth mentioning the difference between face-to-face and online study, because the latter is not for everyone. You have to work independently, manage your time well and motivate yourself when things get tough. You also need to be fairly confident with technology these days. Though you’ll have access to a tutor and peer group, it’s not the same as attending a bricks-and-mortar university several times a week – so if you know you can get lazy, consider the more traditional route.
If you decide to take the plunge, my next piece of advice would be to choose your institution and course with care. Do plenty of online research and pay particular attention to reviews from students who have first-hand experience. Even universities with good reputations have better and worse courses. Who will your tutors be? Are they respected in their field? What kind of support will you get – and is it worth the money? These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself.
Once you’ve settled on a course and received your first materials, you’ll probably have a rush of enthusiasm. You’ll buy new stationery, post comments in all the online forums, and meet your deadlines with ease. I’m sorry to break this to you, but it won’t last! The first few months are the honeymoon period, when everything is new and exciting, but later you’ll almost certainly encounter boredom and difficulty. Some of the materials might not interest you, or you might have work and family commitments that steal your time. When this happens, be honest with yourself and set priorities.
Another thing you have to manage is the relationship with your tutor. They don’t want to hear from you every time you have a problem, but if there’s a major issue make sure you inform them. Their job is to help you, but they can’t do that if they don’t know what’s happening. To get the very best support from your tutor, remember they are likely busy and write your messages with that in mind. Be clear about why you’re contacting them and what you need.
The biggest challenge of your Masters degree will probably be your dissertation – the extended essay that you write at the end of the course. At around 15,000 words, it could be the longest thing you’ve ever written (it certainly was for me). But in some ways, writing it is the easy part. The research required for a Masters dissertation is extensive, and you’ve got to be organised. Make notes on everything you read, because that quote won’t be as easy to find again as you think! To save yourself a lot of trouble, I’d also recommend investing in some decent referencing software. You only have to enter the details of each publication once, and the rest is automatic. It’s a lifesaver.
I think that’s all for now, but maybe I’ll update this post in a month’s time! Wish me luck with the rest of my dissertation – and I wish you luck with whatever Masters degree you decide to pursue.
31. In the second paragraph, the writer suggests that
32. In the third paragraph, a bricks-and-mortar university is one that
33. In paragraph four, what does the writer mean by take the plunge?
34. Which sentence best summarises the ideas in paragraph five?
35. What does the writer advise about contacting a tutor?
36. When working on the Masters dissertation, the writer recommends