Ever considered doing a premaster? Or have you already subscribed for coming semester? I can tell you from my own experience that the premaster program is quite different from your previous study at a Dutch University of Applied Sciences. In this article I will try to give you some general ideas about what a premaster encompasses and how I experienced this period.

In general

The workload of a premaster is very different from what you’ve experienced in your previous studies. Not only does a premaster at Tilburg University require quite a lot of work, the period this work has to be done in comprises of 12 weeks. This makes a premaster quite a crash course preparing you for your Master’s program of your choice. While it is tough for some to adjust to this type of program, it is not impossible. I even believe that almost anyone that graduated from an University of Applied Sciences can also finish this program, especially when you think your previous study was a little bit too easy for you.

The courses

Most premaster programs consist of 5 courses. The emphasis in most programs from Tilburg School of Economics and Management (TISEM) is on calculation (i.e. statistics and math) and research skills. Most programs comprise of these general courses and one or two program specific courses (in my case ‘Strategy for Premasters’ and ‘Organization for Premasters’). All five courses (or almost all depending on your program) consist of one final exam and one or more projects. Some courses also have midterm exams, which are a good test for whether you are on the right track. However, in my experience midterms are very easy compared to final exams. If you end up getting a 10 for your midterm, don’t think this will be representative for your grade in the final exam, because the questions will be way harder. The questions in the final exam are constructed so that you really have to know the course material by hart in order to distinct right from wrong answers (in case of multiple choice) or to give a clear and concise answer that gives you full points (in case of open questions).

The pace

Since you have five courses that start simultaneously and end simultaneously, there might be times that the workload of two or more courses peak at the same time. It is your job to manage this workload, and if it is really not possible to do so, you will have to set priorities. In twelve weeks you will learn everything you need to finish your Master’s program, and to catch up on, or maybe even surpass students that did a bachelor’s program at the university. You should schedule your other activities in such a way that they don’t obstruct your study for this short period, and if you do so, you will be fine. It is adviced not to work too much besides the program, or to be flexible in your work responsibilities.

Preparation for your Master’s

Though a premaster requires a lot of work and some adaptive capabilities, in the end it is quite rewarding. Not only are you eligible to subscribe for a Master’s program, you are also very well prepared for this program. First of all, a lot of courses that you’ll get in your Master’s program require you to conduct research and write down your findings, which was taught in your research skills lessons. Also, in my experience, a lot of the program specific courses in the Master’s program are very similar to those in the premaster with some subjects going a little more in depth. Finally and most importantly, all mathematics and statistics needed to finish your courses and your Master’s thesis are still fresh in memory from your premaster. While other students learned the same in their three year bachelor’s program, you got all the knowledge at once in your premaster’s program. This is what gives premaster students an edge, and this is also why statistically speaking most students who finished their premaster in one go, will also finish their Master’s program at once.

I hope this article has helped you make a decision on whether or not you want to do a premaster at Tilburg University, or if you have already made up your mind, I hope it has given you some valuable tips on what to expect from this program.

I wish all of our new premaster students in strategy & logistics the best of luck in the upcoming semester!

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