Platopus
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I’ve just finished my first year at Cambridge. I’ve not been set any official work to do over the summer, but my director of studies told me that I should make a start on my reading lists for next year.

My Christmas and Easter “vacations” this year have been vacations only in the sense that I vacated Cambridge! So, I was hoping to have a proper vacation this summer by taking a break from studying. I’m also going to be doing a job for a few weeks, so am using that as an excuse to myself.

Be honest: How much studying do you tend to do over the summer vacation? In particular, how much did you do in the summer vacation of your first year? Did you get through a lot of your second year reading lists?
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LowriElin
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I'll be honest, you should DEFINITELY make a start on your reading lists for next year. I've just finished my 2nd year at Bangor University for Criminology and I already have all my reading material for 3rd year sorted. Not only does it make your life easier but when it comes to actually using them for essays and other assignments you'll have the upper hand over the majority of students as books as notoriously hard to find during term time when everyone needs them. I buy mine on eBay and Amazon, a brilliant site named World of Books has almost every book I've ever needed for a fraction of the normal buying price. Obviously I buy them so I set aside a book fund at the end of each semester and it is definitely beneficial. Granted you won't be able to read all of them by September but at least you'll have them. I have a dissertation to be writing too, which I am doing but knowing I have everything ready for the 3rd year makes life so much easier and stress free. In regards to what you mentioned about taking a break from studying, theres plenty of time to do this after graduating! Especially if you will be a Cambridge graduate, you want to be a strong competitor by having a good degree behind you when applying for jobs!Hope this helps
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Paralove
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Meh definitely take a month or two solidly off, and you don't need to be studying hard like other vacs. Gradually making your way through the biggest texts even just the once over will be most helpful but honestly, most people cram it over September lol, if at all. It's just a case of how easy you want to make it for yourself in mich term haha.
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Platopus
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(Original post by LowriElin)
I'll be honest, you should DEFINITELY make a start on your reading lists for next year. I've just finished my 2nd year at Bangor University for Criminology and I already have all my reading material for 3rd year sorted. Not only does it make your life easier but when it comes to actually using them for essays and other assignments you'll have the upper hand over the majority of students as books as notoriously hard to find during term time when everyone needs them. I buy mine on eBay and Amazon, a brilliant site named World of Books has almost every book I've ever needed for a fraction of the normal buying price. Obviously I buy them so I set aside a book fund at the end of each semester and it is definitely beneficial. Granted you won't be able to read all of them by September but at least you'll have them. I have a dissertation to be writing too, which I am doing but knowing I have everything ready for the 3rd year makes life so much easier and stress free. In regards to what you mentioned about taking a break from studying, theres plenty of time to do this after graduating! Especially if you will be a Cambridge graduate, you want to be a strong competitor by having a good degree behind you when applying for jobs!Hope this helps
I have just counted the number of books & papers on just ONE of my reading lists. There are 199.
I have 5 reading lists (1 for each paper).
5 X 199 = 995

So, I have 995 books and papers to read for next year (you obviously aren’t expected to read all of them, but to read as much as you can).

It would be way too expensive for me to go buying everything on my reading list. However, I do see your point. It will be useful to have made a start. Some of the things I have to read have been made available to read online by Cambridge, and I could also go for a day tip to Cambridge in order to visit the library. Just need to motivate myself...
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Platopus
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(Original post by Paralove)
Meh definitely take a month or two solidly off, and you don't need to be studying hard like other vacs. Gradually making your way through the biggest texts even just the once over will be most helpful but honestly, most people cram it over September lol, if at all. It's just a case of how easy you want to make it for yourself in mich term haha.
To be honest I know I’ll be leaving it all way too late haha. I guess I was looking for companions in guilt!
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JamesX97
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It would be great for me to get ahead of my reading as I only work part time and when I’m off I’m so bored , but how have you guys already got access to your reading list for your next year?
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Platopus
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(Original post by JamesX97)
It would be great for me to get ahead of my reading as I only work part time and when I’m off I’m so bored , but how have you guys already got access to your reading list for your next year?
The reading lists for every year are up on my faculty’s webpage.
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Paralove
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(Original post by Platopus)
To be honest I know I’ll be leaving it all way too late haha. I guess I was looking for companions in guilt!
I promise you'll find plenty later on hahaa
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Doones
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(Original post by Platopus)
I have just counted the number of books & papers on just ONE of my reading lists. There are 199.
I have 5 reading lists (1 for each paper).
5 X 199 = 995

So, I have 995 books and papers to read for next year (you obviously aren’t expected to read all of them, but to read as much as you can).

It would be way too expensive for me to go buying everything on my reading list. However, I do see your point. It will be useful to have made a start. Some of the things I have to read have been made available to read online by Cambridge, and I could also go for a day tip to Cambridge in order to visit the library. Just need to motivate myself...
Do absolutely *nothing* academic for at least 6 weeks as Paralove suggested.

Then check if some of your books may be available digitally from UL.

I have no doubt you aren't expected to read anything like 1000 books during the year. If necessary ask your DoS which ones they'd suggest.

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Platopus
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Do absolutely *nothing* academic for at least 6 weeks as Paralove suggested.

Then check if some of your books may be available digitally from UL.

I have no doubt you aren't expected to read anything like 1000 books during the year. If necessary ask your DoS which ones they'd suggest.

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Thanks Doonesbury. Yes, I don’t think they expect us to read everything in the reading lists. I guess they just don’t want us to run out of reading suggestions haha. And many of them are online which is useful.
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Parliament
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Over the summers before my first and second years I got started on the reading lists provided by my DoS (never even touched the Faculty ones - my DoS always maintained they were long to the point of being actively unhelpful for preparing you). Probably read about 6 texts per summer in preparation; only ever primary stuff and only ever casually (I didn't make notes).

Then I realised in Mich and Lent of second year that actually reading in advance wasn't that helpful, because I wasn't reading the texts with a view towards any particular essay/topic. Therefore, I was just having to re-read the same texts anyway when they rolled around for my weekly essay - I hadn't saved myself any work whatsoever. So over the summer before third year I didn't do any reading at all related to my degree, and I felt at no disadvantage whatsoever for doing so. Instead I just read a bunch of stuff which I actually wanted to read, which wound up being super helpful in terms of synoptic knowledge for papers in third year.

soooo I'm not saying don't do any reading, but I am saying that in my experience it's not as helpful as you assume it will be: you're reading these texts for weekly essays on specific topics which are still months and months in the future for you, so your chances of remembering anything useful from this summer are, unfortunately, slim. The best thing you can do to prepare for next year is to take some time to detox from academia, and to read stuff which interests you; maybe it'll come in handy!
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Platopus
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(Original post by Parliament)
Over the summers before my first and second years I got started on the reading lists provided by my DoS (never even touched the Faculty ones - my DoS always maintained they were long to the point of being actively unhelpful for preparing you). Probably read about 6 texts per summer in preparation; only ever primary stuff and only ever casually (I didn't make notes).

Then I realised in Mich and Lent of second year that actually reading in advance wasn't that helpful, because I wasn't reading the texts with a view towards any particular essay/topic. Therefore, I was just having to re-read the same texts anyway when they rolled around for my weekly essay - I hadn't saved myself any work whatsoever. So over the summer before third year I didn't do any reading at all related to my degree, and I felt at no disadvantage whatsoever for doing so. Instead I just read a bunch of stuff which I actually wanted to read, which wound up being super helpful in terms of synoptic knowledge for papers in third year.

soooo I'm not saying don't do any reading, but I am saying that in my experience it's not as helpful as you assume it will be: you're reading these texts for weekly essays on specific topics which are still months and months in the future for you, so your chances of remembering anything useful from this summer are, unfortunately, slim. The best thing you can do to prepare for next year is to take some time to detox from academia, and to read stuff which interests you; maybe it'll come in handy!
Ohhh I’m jealous that your DoS narrows down your reading list. He’s right, they are VERY unhelpfully long. The worst part is that getting through the reading lists is potentially an endless task, however much you enjoy your subject!

You’ve made me feel a lot better about my lack of studying. I didn’t do any reading before my first year (didn’t even know where to find the reading lists) and I was fine, so hopefully it will work out this year.

I will do a bit of reading - don’t want to be rushing through the Republic last minute - but probably not too seriously.

Edit: Congrats on graduating - I assume this year was your third year
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