An Econ Student Perspective – Midterms and Life at Surrey

An Economics Student Perspective

Starting life at a new university can be an anxious time – no more so than in the middle of a pandemic. Nonetheless any apprehension I had in September was gulfed by the excitement of getting back into education after a year out. 

During welcome week, the economics department provided a quantitative methods module; a week of maths revision which definitely helped me hit the ground running when it came to starting my main modules. Studying an economics masters means there is an inevitability of maths. However, one thing I can say is that the support offered from the department and from my peers has been exceptional. It may sound a bit sad, but having the right support can actually help you to enjoy calculus!


All this support is vital when it comes to studying for midterms. There is the risk of feeling a bit lost, especially during a national lockdown. Office hours have been moved online, although I’d argue talking to your lecturers in pyjamas is an opportunity you won’t get again. Here’s a few tips for when midterms come:

  • Plan your time out

Some friends thoughtfully gave me an academic diary for my birthday which has been amazing. Breaking down what I need to do and giving myself a time to do them has helped me to actually get them done. You will probably even find that you get things done quicker than you initially planned.

  • Make yourself a good study playlist

When it comes to studying, I love a bit of jazz. Find music that helps you get your head down and concentrating, though I’ll admit sometimes I would start to imagine I was in a speakeasy bar.

  • Don’t be afraid to give yourself a break

Do this without it leading to full blown procrastination. If things aren’t sticking in your mind and you’re getting frustrated – give yourself some time to come back to the problem fresh.


I stuck to the three tips above and it helped me get through my midterms (relatively) stress-free. I also had a week and a half of self-isolation to contend with. Hopefully this won’t be an issue for anyone starting in Autumn 2021 but I think it really highlighted to me the importance of taking breaks – especially when confined to a handful of rooms. 

My setup studying for midterms – coffee is vital!

Statistics and Your Dissertation

One thing that may concern any prospective economics student, or perhaps many other subjects is econometrics and statistics. This was one of my weaker modules at undergraduate level and I know this was also the case for many of my peers at the time. Thankfully the content and style of teaching has been very rewarding. Any theory has been linked clearly to the practical side of statistical analysis. This has helped shape some ideas for where I want to go for my dissertation.

The use of econometrics isn’t required in your dissertation. Yet I can almost guarantee that thanks to the guidance in your econometrics module, using it to develop and test your own models will be the route you go.

I’ll leave a couple of pieces of advice for anyone who is thinking of the University of Surrey as a place to study. Research what the course offers you; if you are going to study Economics – I can assure you that it offers plenty of both practical and theoretical skills. Secondly, visit the university, in person or virtually. You’ll find a vibrant campus that I’m sure any current student or alumni will agree is an exceptional place to learn and live.