PreMasters Courses Should You Take One

There are so few Pre-Masters courses on the market that students may well wonder what they are. Pre-Masters courses are designed to prepare students for study abroad at the master's-degree level. They combine instruction in both subject matter and study and self-expression skills that foreign students often need to be competitive when they arrive at universities in the UK, Australia, the US and other foreign countries.The fact that you have been or will be accepted for a tertiary program at a foreign university is one indication of the fact that you have already received a good education and have excelled in your chosen field of study. So, it's helpful to think of Pre-Masters courses as something other than catch-up, or remedial, learning.

Instead, think of them as get-ahead courses, which allow you to enter a new learning situation with all the skills necessary to perform well in a new learning environment.While university education is basically the same throughout the world, universities in English-speaking countries often stress ways of thinking, learning and, especially, writing that are different enough from those in your country that you could lose time you can hardly afford to lose adapting to new ways of performing academically.One of the biggest challenges for many students arriving at foreign universities is learning how to think independently and creatively. In many countries throughout the world, university education is geared toward the mastering of the content in a particular study field. Often it is taught by rote; that is, professors impart the essential information and expect students to learn it thoroughly as taught and then to prove that they know it by essentially repeating it back to the professor in exams.While there is considerable value in mastering a field of study in this way, it can foster a kind of thinking that makes it difficult for students to respond when, at universities abroad, they are asked to give their own ideas on a subject and then provide evidence for the validity of those ideas.

Like mathematics and languages, new ways of thinking can be learned, but they usually must be studied, demonstrated ? and practiced ? before they become a real, functioning part of a student's set of academic skills.A large proportion of foreign students going abroad to earn master's degrees are pursuing fields other than those in which they did their bachelor's degrees. Many of those fields may require kinds of research you have never had to do in the past, or may ask you to perform such research in a different way. So, learning appropriate research methodologies is also vital to achieving success. This is certainly true for the business fields that most foreign students pursue, even in such seemingly "non-scientific" ones as marketing and management.

Don't be unpleasantly surprised.Similarly, new study skills themselves often have to be learned and practiced. Most universities abroad tend to move through complex subject matter quickly ? and most foreign students plan to do an entire master's degree in a single year, if only for economic reasons. These two factors together can create considerable time pressure for many foreign students.

The best tactic for coping with an accelerated pace of learning is the development of study skills that allow you to keep up.Just to put it in perspective, "keeping up" is often difficult for English-speaking natives of the country whose university you plan to attend. For many foreign students, learning effective time-management skills can be as important as learning the language in which you will be studying.Furthermore, in most of the fields foreign students go to international universities to study, there is a strong emphasis on students' making formal presentations of their own research in classroom or other even more public settings. For many foreign students, this is a completely unfamiliar and, at first, terrifying thing to consider. A Pre-Masters course can teach you the presentation skills, from the verbal presentation of your ideas to the operation of electronic, computer and other high-tech equipment you may need to make visual presentation of your research findings.

Consider this list of courses, in addition to the ones mentioned above:
- Academic mathematics
- Business English (fundamental concepts and vocabulary)
- Advanced academic writing
- Problem solving
- Leadership skills
- Negotiation skills
- Management skills
- Human resources management
- Finance and accounting
- Marketing.If any of them looks unfamiliar to you, or even makes you question whether you're ready to take them on in a new, fast-paced academic environment, a Pre-Masters course is probably a good idea for you.


Svend Nelson is an Internet entrepreneur. He is director of UniRoute Limited, a Hong Kong based company with offices in Bangkok and London providing IELTS preparation and a free online application service to study abroad including courses like tourism management. Svend lived and worked in various countries across Latin America, Europe and Asia and currently lives in Thailand.

By: Svend Nelson

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