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Step one: research your subject area

It is important to show that you have some understanding of the subject you are applying to study. 

Use the following to help you. 

  • Books, newspapers and journals 
    • While you are not expected to be an expert, it is essential to demonstrate a basic understanding of, and interest in, your subject through your reading. 
    • Start by reading a newspaper or journal article, or a book, and, in your personal statement, write about what interested you and what you found controversial. 
  • Public lectures 
  • Birkbeck’s Big Ideas 
  • Museums, galleries and historic sites 
    • Visiting somewhere relevant to your subject, and writing about it in your personal statement, showcases your interest and enthusiasm. 
    • You can discuss what you found most interesting, what you disliked, and how it fits into your area of study. 
  • Other sources 
    • If you are unable to attend public lectures or visit relevant places, you could write about lectures you have seen online. Most museums provide lots of free information online, too.