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Couldn't get near a first despite busting my ass

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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    How on earth can anyone have the time to cover all the material and then go into huge amounts of depth when the examiner can only ask you a few questions? I read reviews and that's all I had time/ability to do so I could know all the topics in some detail.
    It definitely sounds like you had the ability to get a 1st but you just didn't really know how.

    I think that there are students (I am one) that could get either a 2:1 or a 1st depending on the culture they surround themselves in. I failed 1st year and I had to repeat; I didn't get to know anyone on my course, and my flatmates all did different courses, so we never really discussed academic issues. When I repeated, I made friends with people on my course, who turned out to be very smart and hard working; we spend a lot of time discussing how to get good grades and manage to spur ourselves on. (And some of them sucked up to lecturers and got pretty good hints out of them that they shared with the rest of us.)

    I think that you focused too much on breadth of knowledge rather than depth; because breadth is useless in exams where you only answer 1 or 2 questions. Of course for this you need to be able to predict the questions which will turn up, which may be impossible if you aren't given past papers.

    (Original post by Rancorous)
    A 2:1 is good, especially if it's not your final year.

    A few lessons I learnt from my degree:

    ...

    The definition of 'working hard' really varies from person to person - and 'real' hard work means 12 hour days at least - day in, day out. You really have to know the system at your uni for your course inside out - for law, that means knowing the past exam papers inside out and back to front, so that you can almost predict what will come up because you understand the deep structure of the exam and you know how the question setter thinks. It means writing essays again and again to tutors on different topics - it means sharing notes and essays with other top students. That's how you get firsts at my uni for my course.
    I think these points are really important.

    It would require a huge amount of time to be able to answer every possible question to the necessary depth, and even if you had done this, you need to recall it correctly in the exam. So correctly predicting the questions, or even being able to eliminate half of the topics, is the biggest time save.

    And then you should write answers out again and again, so when/if the topic comes up in the exam, you are recalling rather than producing the answer.


    EDIT: The "wouldn't get a 2:2" comment was harsh, and very likely not true.

    TL : DR?
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    (Original post by admbeatmaker)
    Because by just attending lectures it doesn't mean you're benefitting from them. Lectures serve simply as a forum to introduce your weekly material that you need to learn. The lecturers will go over the topics quite briefly, then it's up to you to go away and do the reading to learn it in detail. In my first year at another university, I hardly learned anything from lectures.
    And ironically, we pay them to 'teach'
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    (Original post by kka25)
    And ironically, we pay them to 'teach'
    It's entirely plausible to get a high 2:1 in the early years of a law degree (which I seem to remember is what you do?) with only material gleaned from lectures and supported by the textbook to go a little further on some points, as long as you know it inside out. But there is a distinction, to my mind at least, between teaching and spoonfeeding.
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    (Original post by Norton1)
    It's entirely plausible to get a high 2:1 in the early years of a law degree (which I seem to remember is what you do?) with only material gleaned from lectures and supported by the textbook to go a little further on some points, as long as you know it inside out. But there is a distinction, to my mind at least, between teaching and spoonfeeding.
    I know this is a bit subjective, but first year modules are always quite ok to get good average marks - Well not everyone could do it and I do apologize for making the subjective statement because I do recognize that some people do struggle during their first year.

    I do Law? Mind telling me how do you come out with that conclusion lol?

    I'm very interested to know though how you differentiate between teaching and spoonfeeding. It seems to me their's no real definition of these two terms :/
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    (Original post by kka25)
    I know this is a bit subjective, but first year modules are always quite ok to get good average marks - Well not everyone could do it and I do apologize for making the subjective statement because I do recognize that some people do struggle during their first year.

    I do Law? Mind telling me how do you come out with that conclusion lol?

    I'm very interested to know though how you differentiate between teaching and spoonfeeding. It seems to me their's no real definition of these two terms :/
    People tend to struggle in first year either because they're not suited to the course or haven't worked hard enough. After all, everyone has demonstrated a roughly equal level of attainment to get onto the course.

    I thought I'd seen you posting in the law forums before, apologies, I find it a lot easier to remember if people have an avatar.

    Teaching would present you with the information and with pointers to where people could research further. For example, some of my lecturers provided reading lists for each lecture. I agree there's no point where teaching can definitively be said to have crossed the line into spoonfeeding, it's on a continuum. However, if you look at GCSE's that would perhaps be the hard line of spoonfeeding where a taught Master's is the hardline of teaching. If at university level you're being presented in class with all the material you would ever need, and later in the year essentially being told what's in the exam (and I know this happens) I don't think it's difficult to say the class is being spoonfed.
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    (Original post by Norton1)
    People tend to struggle in first year either because they're not suited to the course or haven't worked hard enough. After all, everyone has demonstrated a roughly equal level of attainment to get onto the course.

    I thought I'd seen you posting in the law forums before, apologies, I find it a lot easier to remember if people have an avatar.

    Teaching would present you with the information and with pointers to where people could research further. For example, some of my lecturers provided reading lists for each lecture. I agree there's no point where teaching can definitively be said to have crossed the line into spoonfeeding, it's on a continuum. However, if you look at GCSE's that would perhaps be the hard line of spoonfeeding where a taught Master's is the hardline of teaching. If at university level you're being presented in class with all the material you would ever need, and later in the year essentially being told what's in the exam (and I know this happens) I don't think it's difficult to say the class is being spoonfed.
    True.

    Owh, it's ok. But I'm in the law forum sometimes. Love talking about legal stuff; but not good at it at all :/

    Are you in Uni at the moment?
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    (Original post by kka25)
    True.

    Owh, it's ok. But I'm in the law forum sometimes. Love talking about legal stuff; but not good at it at all :/

    Are you in Uni at the moment?
    Yes indeed, been there for a while.
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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    • Recorded and attended all lectures
    • Moved back home during study leave to help focus
    • Gave up sport to focus on work from October
    • Treated the coursework that made up 70% of my biomed degree like it was a hobby and not work
    • Read around topic extensively



    But ended up with a very average module grades in my 2.1. What's gone wrong?

    I've already asked for feedback from the professors who marked the work. Just worried that I might not be intellectually able especially with all the work i put in.
    "effort" and achievement are never strictly correlated.


    (Original post by Nomes89)
    If anything lecturers don't want to hear what they've told you in lectures and want you to demonstrate that you've read around the subject and also your own analysis on whatever the subject is. Exams and assignments are about you demonstrating your understanding and you can best do this by showing them the conclusion that you yourself have come to based on the large amount of research that you say you're doing. Just working hard alone will not get you top results and it goes the same in everyday life.
    (Original post by Sommerfugl)
    That is definitely a huge mistake, exams are all about showing that you have been reading extensively on your own, if all you can come up with is stuff from the lectures you will be marked down.
    I don't remember ever mentioning anything that wasn't in the lecture handouts. I got a first...

    It's no different to school - if you're aware of how it works then the material that needs to be learned can be precisely determined, and then learned. Opening up to a near-limitless body of material to learn must lead to many people knowing too little about too much, and doing poorly on exams.
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    I'm surprised you managed to get a 2.1 if you were only working off lecture notes.

    It's not so much using material not in the lectures, but being more rigorous then the lecture notes themselves are.
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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    How on earth can anyone have the time to cover all the material and then go into huge amounts of depth when the examiner can only ask you a few questions? I read reviews and that's all I had time/ability to do so I could know all the topics in some detail.
    I spent about 3 weeks on one of my exams (the one I found the hardest, which was also one of the most important ones I had out of the 5). I spent most of that time reading the course book (which I should have done during the semester -.- ) and then the remaining time building up the different subjects I thought was gonna be present in the exam. Then finding several case studies for all of the subjects in books/online. And I was only aiming for a 2:1, which I got.

    Now I have started my reading for my main courses, so I dont have to spend so much time on 1 single exam again this semester!

    (it really depends on your course tho, my bf does biology which is multiple answers exams, where as mine are essay-questions. He only reads up on lecture notes and still gets a first -so annoying!)
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    (Original post by NB_ide)
    "effort" and achievement are never strictly correlated.






    I don't remember ever mentioning anything that wasn't in the lecture handouts. I got a first...

    It's no different to school - if you're aware of how it works then the material that needs to be learned can be precisely determined, and then learned. Opening up to a near-limitless body of material to learn must lead to many people knowing too little about too much, and doing poorly on exams.
    I dont know where you went to uni, but we have specifically gotten exam feedback about reading beyond lecture notes + we should read the course book + extra books. Usually after each lecture they'll put up the further reading we technically should read all of.
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    When I completed any coursework I would arrange a meeting with my ALA (Academic Learning Advisor) to go through it and see of there was anything that needed improving. In my opinion it was a great help because I always achieved what I wanted. If you do have any people like this at your uni who would aid you in your work, maybe its worth giving it a shot in the future?


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    Remember dnt just try and aim for 70%, the higher the percentage the more it will help boost your exam grades


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    How on earth can anyone have the time to cover all the material and then go into huge amounts of depth when the examiner can only ask you a few questions? I read reviews and that's all I had time/ability to do so I could know all the topics in some detail.
    A friend who's very smart once told me, it's 20% effort for 80% gain, and for that extra 20% it's 80% effort. I think that applies here. Although obviously you've put in more than 20% effort. ;
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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    That's interesting. I think I went in with the mentality that learning and understanding the material mentioned in the lectures would give me a first. I guess that works for multiple choice exams but not so well in essays?
    that´s your problem right there.
    unfortunately solely learning the material presented in lectures will not guarantee you a first :no: For essays and written exams in particular you need to do your own research. You're not spoonfed everything you need to know like in school.
    A 2:1 is pretty good to be honest, if I got that I´d be more than happy.
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    People work very hard and end up with 2.2. The way of the world. Being able to get your point across in exams clearly helps. Reading papers and course books can help
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    (Original post by Tpx)
    It definitely sounds like you had the ability to get a 1st but you just didn't really know how.

    I think that there are students (I am one) that could get either a 2:1 or a 1st depending on the culture they surround themselves in. I failed 1st year and I had to repeat; I didn't get to know anyone on my course, and my flatmates all did different courses, so we never really discussed academic issues. When I repeated, I made friends with people on my course, who turned out to be very smart and hard working; we spend a lot of time discussing how to get good grades and manage to spur ourselves on. (And some of them sucked up to lecturers and got pretty good hints out of them that they shared with the rest of us.)

    I think that you focused too much on breadth of knowledge rather than depth; because breadth is useless in exams where you only answer 1 or 2 questions. Of course for this you need to be able to predict the questions which will turn up, which may be impossible if you aren't given past papers.



    I think these points are really important.

    It would require a huge amount of time to be able to answer every possible question to the necessary depth, and even if you had done this, you need to recall it correctly in the exam. So correctly predicting the questions, or even being able to eliminate half of the topics, is the biggest time save.

    And then you should write answers out again and again, so when/if the topic comes up in the exam, you are recalling rather than producing the answer.


    EDIT: The "wouldn't get a 2:2" comment was harsh, and very likely not true.

    TL : DR?
    Yeah, you're right. I didn't mean to write that - I meant to write 'wouldn't get a 2:1' - I meant he would probably have gotten a 2:2. Saying he would have got a third is a ridiculous thing to say. I don't think saying getting a 2:2 is harsh - 30% of my year ended up with them, and loads of people are borderline 2:1s with 2:2s, just as loads of people are borderline 2:2s with 2:1s, if that makes sense.
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    (Original post by Norton1)
    People tend to struggle in first year either because they're not suited to the course or haven't worked hard enough. After all, everyone has demonstrated a roughly equal level of attainment to get onto the course.

    I thought I'd seen you posting in the law forums before, apologies, I find it a lot easier to remember if people have an avatar.

    Teaching would present you with the information and with pointers to where people could research further. For example, some of my lecturers provided reading lists for each lecture. I agree there's no point where teaching can definitively be said to have crossed the line into spoonfeeding, it's on a continuum. However, if you look at GCSE's that would perhaps be the hard line of spoonfeeding where a taught Master's is the hardline of teaching. If at university level you're being presented in class with all the material you would ever need, and later in the year essentially being told what's in the exam (and I know this happens) I don't think it's difficult to say the class is being spoonfed.
    Perhaps. At my uni, however, there were quotas and caps put on the first year. Many people did take a while to learn the necessary techniques for a law degree, but we had a 30% fail rate for each module, nearly 50% failed criminal law - the retention rate from first to second year was 70%. 250 students entered, 170 returned. Entry standards were high and the norm at other unis is a 97-8% pass rate in the first year - which we had in the second year. It wasn't because our students were all stupid or didn't work hard; they took too many people and used the first year as a tool to weed them out.That said, a minority still did get mostly 2:1s, and some even a first in one subject.
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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    • Recorded and attended all lectures
    • Moved back home during study leave to help focus
    • Gave up sport to focus on work from October
    • Treated the coursework that made up 70% of my biomed degree like it was a hobby and not work
    • Read around topic extensively



    But ended up with a very average module grades in my 2.1. What's gone wrong?

    I've already asked for feedback from the professors who marked the work. Just worried that I might not be intellectually able especially with all the work i put in.
    I can't wait to start my biomed degree , with everyone saying how hard it is and all which university do you attend?
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    (Original post by NB_ide)
    I don't remember ever mentioning anything that wasn't in the lecture handouts. I got a first...

    It's no different to school - if you're aware of how it works then the material that needs to be learned can be precisely determined, and then learned. Opening up to a near-limitless body of material to learn must lead to many people knowing too little about too much, and doing poorly on exams.

    That is so sad

    I am left wondering what your degree subject was

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