Top tips for studing the CIPR Advanced Certificate in PR - from a top student!

Top tips for studing the CIPR Advanced Certificate in PR - from a top student!

Angela Atkinson was the winner of our most recent course award for the Advanced Certificate in PR.   Being based up in the North East, she studied online. So, what was her secret? Here Angela shares her tips.....

Angela Atkinson, winner of our 2014 course award for the CIPR Advanced Certificate in PR

"I studied for the CIPR Advanced Certificate with the PR Academy in 2014 at the same time as working full time, planning my wedding and getting married (it was a busy year!)

To my surprise I achieved distinctions for all three assignments and was awarded the annual course award. Before you roll your eyes and think ‘swot!’ (ok, it’s probably too late by now!) the PR Academy asked me to share some of my study tips, in case they help others who are embarking on a new course.

So, here the top five things that I think helped me get the most out of the Advanced Certificate in  PR:

  • Get ahead: Print (and read!) the webinar slides, module outline and reading lists in advance so that you know what is coming up and you can do some thinking around the subject in advance. It also helped me to identify questions I wanted to ask during the webinars.
  • Be organised: I put all the course dates (webinars, assignment deadlines, feedback dates) into an online calendar so that I could see what was coming up and plan for periods when I might need to dedicate some extra time to studying. I also added reminders for all the assignment submission dates to make sure that I didn’t have any risk of missing the deadline (a recurring nightmare for the hyper organised like me!).
  • Take part: Where possible try to watch the webinars live as then you can live-chat with the tutor and other students. This was really useful to ask questions and get some extra detail. The PR Academy student pages and chat rooms are also really helpful for sparking conversation and sharing ideas.
  • Channel your inner bookworm; The more reading you can do the better! I found the more I read beyond the core text books the more questions and ideas I had when it came to the assignments. PR magazines, web sites, blogs, academic journals and even twitter were all referenced in my assignments.
  • Relive your student days…in the library! If you can, get a guest/alumni pass for your local university or college library. This will give you access to a wide range of additional resources. I found this especially helpful for the critique as reading widely around the subject is vital. On the downside, going back to my old university library made it abundantly clear how long it has been since I was there as an undergraduate…cue an afternoon of feeling old!

Taking on a year-long qualification is a big commitment and it’s natural to wonder whether it will be worth it. Well, for me it definitely was! Less than six months after receiving my final assignment grade I got a brilliant new job with the Communications Team at Durham University. My success at the Advanced Certificate gave me the confidence to apply for the role and demonstrated my knowledge, skills and work ethic to the recruitment panel.

I’ve been in my new job for four months now and absolutely love it. I can safely say I use the skills and knowledge from the Advanced Certificate every day.

To all those embarking on the Advanced Certificate this year – good luck and enjoy it!"