– Stats is a thing –
As hideous as statistics is, it’ll happen. There isn’t anything you can do about it but you can get through it (trust me). I hated maths at school and just assumed the statistic module on my course was an easy refresher on the maths I already knew. How wrong I was.
The statistics that is involved revolves around research methods. I found that online resources were really useful because reading a different explanation of statistics helped my understanding. If you’re struggling to grasp the concepts, I recommend reaching out to someone at Uni. I left it and just assumed I was the only one struggling but I wish I’d got some extra help in first year.
– APA Referencing –
Referencing was the absolute bane of my life. This is where Google Scholar will become your best friend. It has loads of up to date research papers and makes referencing so much easier.
If you load google scholar, search the topic you want information on and find an article that you want to use. Then, click the ‘cite’ button which will give you a list of different citations all formatted correctly. Just copy and paste the APA version and you’re sorted!
– Don’t feel the need to buy textbooks –
If theres a textbook you may need, you can go to your uni library and they should have it for free. I honestly wouldn’t bother buying your own books because more than likely you won’t use them. This does depend on your own personal needs and what’s required. When I started uni I was given a double-side a4 list of books I would ‘need’. Safe to say, I never opened one.
I used google scholar for ALL my assignments as it has the most up to date research papers. The textbooks are good to clarify existing theories you may be taught in lectures, but for critical analyses you need up to date research.
– Volunteer Experience is essential –
I think for any job, especially graduate ones, experience in that field is necessary. I wanted to work in Educational Psychology and so knew working with children was vital. I took a module that wasn’t part of the psychology course which enabled me to do a placement at a local school for a year and I’ve also had a job as a play time worker in the holidays. I also chose my dissertation topic to be around child psychology which really helped.
If you have an idea of what you want to do, try and get as much experience as you can around that area. If you don’t know, just volunteer in any area that interests you and it will look great on your cv as it’s shown you’ve done that little bit extra.
– Look into research assistant jobs in the summer –
If you’re at uni make sure you ask lecturers and tutors about any research that you could get involved in over the summer. They sometimes have paid jobs but if you live near you might even be able to volunteer there. It will make you stand out above the graduate crowd when you finish Uni and give you really good experience.
– Read Read Read –
The more you read, the better your assignments will be. When you need to write about a topic, if you read around the area the quality of your writing will improve. From knowing more about the subject, you’ll write in a more concise but accurate way. It’s also a good idea to find another article either supporting or contradicting the theory you’re talking about, which gives you a discussion point to go off.
– Revision –
If you know how you revise best from school, try not to change this too much. Learning at university is a lot different to learning at school; you get taught in a lecture setting, it’s not as personal and most of the work has to come from you. In my first year, I experimented with lots of different revision techniques because I felt like I had revise differently. This didn’t work for me and I had previously always revised using A3 mind-maps for each topic and when I started using this technique again at uni, my marks improved.
Everyone is so different with revision. If you’ve got a technique that works, try and stick with it!
– Have Fun –
Don’t let the work side take over your life. This applies to all courses, but it’s so easy to get really stressed out. Just remember, you have 3 years and they will go SO quick. Work hard, but enjoy yourself because it’ll be over before you know it.
Hope this helps some of you either starting or doing a psychology degree!