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Study choice tests and tips

Read all the study choice tips and take the tests to get to know more about yourself. These tests can give you insight into your interests, competences, values and personality. That can help you make your study choice.

Study choice tests

Choosing a study is not always easy. Study choice tests will help you get started. These tests ask you questions about your personal skills and interests, which will help you better determine what suits you. But remember that test results are not necessarily accurate. They are meant to give you something to think about. It is also a good idea to discuss the results with your family or friends.

  • Competences: what are you good at, what do you do well, and in what ways would you like to develop further? 
  • Personal values: what is important to you, in your life and in your study/work? 
  • Personality test: What type of person are you?
  • Study choice test: get an overview of suitable study programmes based on your interests

Study choice tips

Having a tough time choosing a study programme? No need to worry! Below, we have listed the best study choice tips for you. Whether you have no idea where to start or are unsure which study programme will get you to your goal, these tips will hopefully make choosing a little easier.

Do's and don'ts

It’s great that you’re busy preparing for your future studies, but be aware of the pitfalls you could encounter during this process.

Do's and don'ts

Read the following do’s carefully: (click on the arrow below)

1. Start your orientation to the options as early as possible.

2. Explore with an open mind. Don’t immediately rule out options without investigating them.

3. Be aware that all study programmes have parts that may be less interesting to you.

4. Make a well-reasoned study choice.

5. If you need an alternative – for example, if you don’t get a slot to study Medicine – make sure the alternative study programme is also something you’ll enjoy.

6. Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.

7. Consider turning your hobby into your study: your motivation and interest in your chosen study programme or subject are key factors in the success of your later career.

8. Take a gap year if you really can’t decide. A year of travelling and/or working instead of studying can help you learn a lot about yourself and increase your motivation to study.

9. Push your limits. If the perfect study programme for you is only offered on the other side of the country, it may be worth jumping into the deep end.

10. Break with tradition. It may seem easy to keep to well-worn (family) paths when choosing your study. It’s common to hear reasons like ‘my grandfather and mother are also doctors’ to justify a choice of study. But remember that every person is different and your decision should be based on your personal interests.

11. Realise that whatever you choose, you can only really experience what it is like once you are in the study programme. You can only be 100% sure you made the right choice once you have begun studying.

Do’s and don’ts

It’s great that you’re busy preparing for your future studies, but be aware of the pitfalls you could encounter during this process.

Do’s and don’ts

Read the following don’ts carefully: (click on the arrow below)

1. Don’t choose too quickly or put off the choice too long.

2. Don’t take anything for granted (e.g., I finished VWO so I have to go to a research university, or I should choose a study programme near home because that’s easier).

3. Don’t search for the perfect study programme. It doesn’t exist.

4. Don’t choose a study programme by eliminating other options. The process of elimination can be helpful, but don’t choose a study programme because it’s the only one left.

5. Don’t be laser-focused on one specific study programme.

6. Don’t study Maths unless you’re a maths whiz, even if it sounds like fun.

7. Don’t necessarily turn your hobby into your study: you might lose your hobby altogether.

8. Don’t take a gap year as a way to procrastinate if choosing a study programme is difficult for you.

9. Don’t choose a study because it’s close to home if the study content is less interesting to you.

10. Don’t honour tradition and keep to the well-worn family paths without considering your own interests, abilities and motivations.

11. Don’t be afraid to make the ‘wrong’ choice. Finding you are not where you want to be isn’t ‘wrong’; instead, it’s a logical part of the process of choosing what is right for you. Sometimes you have to change your choice later and find something else that interests you more.

What kind of decision-maker are you?

Everyone has their own way of making choices. Some do it more by instinct while others rely more on facts. There is no ‘best’ way to choose; one just suits you better than another. Still, there is no harm in taking a different approach to making a choice. Explore the different styles and then do the corresponding exercise to see how and which decision-making style you can use.

A logical-rational decision-maker focuses on logical arguments when making a decision. You have to plan your choice well, gather arguments, and decide what seems most logical.

Pitfall 
Decisions can become impersonal, as if they were a simple mathematical exercise, and you may completely lose any feeling about what you are choosing. There is also the danger of endlessly collecting information and continuing to deliberate.

Challenge
Make more room for instinctive reasoning and subjective perceptions about what you like or want, whether that seems sensible or not.

Emotional decision-makers mainly listen to their heart and their own feelings when making decisions. What feels good and what makes your stomach hurt?

Pitfall
Deciding based on feelings can backfire because emotions can be volatile. Emotional decision-makers can be quite fickle, and their choices may seem to follow the whims of their changeable emotional moods.

Challenge
Rely more on objective information and arguments for and against a decision.

Choosing rarely seems difficult for impulsive decision-makers. They just do whatever first springs to mind or spontaneously seems best. Why make it difficult when it can be easy? Besides, first impressions are usually the most valuable or reliable, right?

Pitfall
Impulsive decision-makers take too little time to think things through. They then act too quickly and later don’t remember why they made that choice.

Challenge
Learn to take more time and add a more thoughtful consideration of the situation to your first impulse.

Procrastinating decision-makers choose the sure thing. You can always get new information, so why decide right away if you don’t have to?

Pitfall
Procrastination is the thief of time. Pondering and deliberating and waiting a while longer can become endless.

Challenge
Have the courage to take the plunge even if you are not yet certain. Sometimes it’s better to make a decisive choice than to do nothing at all.

There are also self-assured people who always seem able to choose very confidently. Strong-willed decision-makers know exactly what they want and won’t be swayed by anything or anyone.

Pitfall
Strong-willed decision-makers can come across as very domineering and seem uninterested in what other people think. They can thus disregard valuable insights from fellow students, teachers and parents.

Challenge
Be more open to the ideas, reactions and reflections of others so you get a more complete picture of yourself and your (study) choice.

The accommodating decision-maker easily adapts to what the group or others want. Their own opinion carries less weight. Making choices like this can help a person avoid conflict and feeling left out of the group.

Pitfall
You no longer have your own opinions and at some point you might lose track of what you actually want. For example, you might go along with a friend to an Earth Science information day and think ‘I kind of like this too’ without exploring further.

Challenge
Be more vocal about your own opinions and wishes and show your true colours. Sometimes make more idiosyncratic choices.

Intuition is hard to define. It is usually described as a deeper certainty. Intuition can be an insight that comes to you when you have let a (choice) question sit in the back of your mind for a few days. The subconscious stores all our previous experiences and knowledge. It can process two hundred thousand times more information than the conscious mind, so it can base a decision on much more information.

Pitfall
You might decide to let your subconscious do the work for a while and not make any more efforts to arrive at a good (study) choice.

Challenge
It is certainly good to follow your intuition when you have a choice-related question, but first step back and gather the information you need.

Have you read through all the styles? Then answer the following questions to discover which decision-making style is your natural preference and which other style could help you choose your study programme.

  • Which decision-making style(s) do you use the most?
  • Which decision-making style would you like to use more?
  • What would you need to use the decision-making style you mentioned more often?
  • What will you do in the near future to start using the decision-making style you mentioned more often? (Name concrete actions!)

What is the difference between a university of applied sciences and a research university?

If you completed VWO (pre-university education), you usually look for study programmes at a research university. After all, that’s the ‘most logical’ route: from VWO to WO (research university) or from HAVO (higher general secondary education) to HBO (university of applied sciences). Still, it is recommended to also look into HBO programmes if you completed VWO.

An HBO study programme is no less valuable than a WO study programme. Both are Higher Education, but they take different approaches. Look closely at these differences and explore which study programmes, teaching methods, and career options suit you best.

HBO (university of applied sciences) WO (research university)

Profession-oriented

Academic-oriented

Practice-oriented (with practical assignments, such as at organisations)

Theoretically oriented (abstract assignments involving research)

Internship is required / often several internships during studies

Internship is possible / increasingly required

You apply theory in practice

You generate new knowledge

Subject-oriented learning

Competence-based learning

Many different subjects

Fewer subjects (but more depth)

Average study pace

Fast study pace

Lots of group work

Lots of independent work

You will be trained to work in professional (practical) jobs

You will be trained to work in professional (practical) jobs

Clear professional profile

Less clear professional profile

 

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