(PGT) Study Support for Masters Students: Focus Group

19th January 2014
Seminar Room, IAD, 7 Bristo Square


If you would like to influence the support for Taught Postgraduate students at the University of Edinburgh join The Institute of Academic Development focus group on Study Support for Masters Students.

We want to hear your views and ideas on how we can best support students through their wordleMasters year.  The Institute of Academic Development would like current or past taught postgraduate Masters students to tell us what you think of the IADs masters students resources such as our workshops, online learning resources, study development advisors, blogs or tweets.

You do not need to have used the Institute of Academic Development resources / support, but you must be prepared to give your views, offer suggestions and participate in the discussion

This is a voluntary focus group so to thank you for your time we will provide some refreshments and will give each participant a £10 Amazon voucher.

Useful study tips – preparing for the next semester


Before the start of a new semester, it is always useful to reflect on your experiences and develop how you learn and study. The Institute for Academic Development provides a variety of resources which can support Masters students.

  • Developing your English
  • Effective studying
  • Time management
  • Literature searching
  • Writing at postgrad level
  • Assignments: planning and drafting
  • Meeting academic standards
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentations and posters
  • Dissertations

You can access all the above resources through: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/institute-academic-development/postgraduate/taught/learning-resources

PGT Newsletter – December 2014

The Institute for Academic Development PGT Newsletter (December 2014) is now live. You can download it from  http://edin.ac/16wZUnc

The newsletter provides further information aboutPGT_Newsletter_4_Dec_2014

  • All study skills and writing workshops available in January and February 2015
  • Masters Support: Focus Group
  • Innovative Learning Week
  • Other resources on assignments, writing and exams



Exam Tips – Exam Guide and Coping With Stress

stressStress is something that we all experience. The right amount of stress helps us achieve the things we want and allows us to fulfil whatever aims we have for ourselves. If we are facing too much challenge our stress levels can rise to a point where they begin to have negative effects on our performance and on how we feel.

During exams period, it is important for you to set realistic goals as you revise – reward yourself when you meet these targets and don’t stress about an unobtainable level of perfection. If you start to feel stressed, try to challenge those negative thoughts by focusing on positives and previous successes. If you find yourself beginning to panic at any point during revision time or even during an exam, there are various relaxation techniques that will help.

A short guide is published by the Student Counselling Service at the University of Edinburgh to give you some ideas about recognising when your stress levels are too high, and help you do something about it.

The Student Counselling Service has also published the Step by Step Guide to Exam Success to give you some ideas about how you can get the marks you want in your exams with the minimum of stress and panic!

The Edinburgh University Students’ Association also published a Q&A guide to exams and deadlines:

Exam Tips – Writing and Thinking Crtically

22The Institute for Academic Development offers advice and resources to support students with writing effectively at postgraduate level.

The eWriting online course (open-access) is specifically developed for postgraduate students, it covers many aspects of writing successfully at University. It is a self-study course, and you can complete it at any time.

Writing at postgraduate level is a step up in your thinking and writing. You are expected to make accurate attribution of ideas from others, written pieces to be logically structured with fluid expression of thought, and with deeper and more critical engagement with the subjects and ideas you are reading and learning about.

Critical thinking can be applied to:

  • Bring together different sources of information to serve an argument or idea you are constructing.
  • Make logical connections between the different sources that help you shape and support your ideas.
  • Comprehend the key points, assumptions, arguments and evidence presented.
  • Transfer the understanding you have gained from your critical evaluation and use in response to questions, assignments and projects.
  • Develop arguments, draw conclusions, make inferences and identify implications. (The Open University, 2009)

For more tips and ideas on critical thinking, please visit:

Exam Tips – Past Exam Papers

Cropped_PGTStudentsPast exam papers are available for students of the University of Edinburgh and they may be used as a study aid for exam revision.

Exam Papers Online is a service hosted by the University library, to provide access for staff and students to the collected degree examination papers of the University from 2004 onwards. Students can access the Exam Papers Online on and off-campus but will be prompted for your EASE username and password.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/information-services/library-museum-gallery/exam-papers

Exams diets

The Russell Group Universities Postgraduate Study Roadshow @ Edinburgh – 11 Dec 2014

EDINBURGH UNIVERSITYThe Russell Group Universities Postgraduate Study Roadshow is a prestigious series of Masters and PhD study fairs exclusively featuring Russell Group universities. It’s a great opportunity for you to meet with representatives from the UK’s leading universities to talk through your potential postgraduate options with them, face to face, in a place convenient to you.

The Russell Group universities exhibiting at the Roadshow want to meet people interested in Masters or PhD level study. So, if you are:

  • a first or second year student planning ahead,
  • a graduate looking for more academic opportunities,
  • a graduate wanting career development opportunities,

Come along newt week to the Russell Group Universities Postgraduate Study Roadshow at Edinburgh.

  • Thursday 11 December 2014 @ EU Students’ Association, Teviot Row House, 13 Bristo Square

To learn more information and to register, please visit: http://www.postgraduateroadshow.com/students/pre-register.aspx

Applying for a PhD @ Edinburgh – Research Proposals and Supervisors – Frequently Asked Questions

EDINBURGH UNIVERSITYOn the 5th and 10th of November 2014 the IAD hosted on-campus and online panel discussions about applying for a PhD. This gave Taught Masters students the opportunity to ask staff questions about the PhD application process at the University of Edinburgh.

Representatives from Admissions, EUSA, International Office and the Scholarship Office were there to answer questions and give advice to students.

This blog will cover some of the questions raised during these panel sessions

1. Tips on writing a proposal?

When writing your PhD proposal, start working on your draft as early as possible. Research the topic you want to study, this will help you to plan out your ideas as you begin writing the proposal. Ask others to look at your proposal, get their opinion and ask your colleagues for feedback. They are likely to spot gaps, ask questions which potential supervisors may also raise. Be as precise and clear as you can in writing your proposal. The clearer your proposal can be, the easier it will be for a potential supervisor to understand what your want to research and why.

2. How do you choose a supervisor?

When applying for a PhD, you need to first find a research topic of potential interest and then look at choosing a potential supervisor to guide you through the next three years – this is crucial. Your supervisor will be your advisor on both a personal and professional level.  Your supervisor will be there for you to discuss any issues regarding your research and direct you in other areas that may be of benefit to you. Moreover, by the end of the PhD, you will become an expert in your area of research.When choosing a supervisor consider the following points to help you decide:

  • Look at the publications they have written.
  • Talk to other students in the department; try to get a feel for the department/research group or lab you would potentially be working in for the next three years.
  • If you have the opportunity, try to arrange a short meeting with the potential supervisor to discuss your interests and research proposal.  If this cannot be done face-to-face, try to arrange a telephone conversation or email chat.
  • Keep in mind when you are thinking about doing a PhD to find out what is expected of you, why you want to do this PhD? By talking to other PhD students, this will also help you answer questions such as are you ready to do your PhD right now or whether you would prefer to take a gap year first.

Useful Links



Exam tips for postgraduate students


Some programmes of study may have exams while others may not.

Exams at taught postgraduate level are an opportunity to demonstrate your insight, knowledge and mastery of your subject. While exams can be daunting, with proper preparation many students come to view exams as enjoyable: exams become an opportunity to consolidate their learning experience.

For exams you may want to consider:

  • Planning and revision
  • Revision techniques
  • Strategies for sitting your exams

The Institute for Academic Development has launched a web page which focuses on exam preparation. The page includes useful resources, planners, revision techniques, and strategies for sitting your exams.

To find out more, visit the Effective Exams page on: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/institute-academic-development/postgraduate/taught/learning-resources/exams