How does one go about getting a first? Watch

faber niger
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#41
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#41
(Original post by IlexAquifolium)
Frankly, no, not really. The quotas are awarded to institutions who then dish 'em out (or that will be the system in place when you apply). So all it will mean is that you're perhaps competing against higher-quality applicants at Oxford than elswhere, although this itself is pretty dubious since the competition's ridiculous everywhere (the very fact that they turn so many people with firsts and MAs away is testament to that). It is, unfortunately, a 'risky business' applying for the AHRC and ESRC even if you're a God of academia simply because the competition is so intense and there is always far less money available than there are fantastically worthy applicants.

(I'm making the assumption here that you're looking at doing an MA & PhD rather than a second BA, here. I suspect you already know that in the latter case there's no funding out there, at all).
Yes, your assumption is correct. (If you read my profile, I did have the idea of doing a second degree in Law, with the aim of becoming a barrister, but I'm not so sure about that now -- though it's still an option.) I'll just have to work hard, see what happens and hope for the best then. :eek:
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Kitty Pimms
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#42
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Yes, your assumption is correct. (If you read my profile, I did have the idea of doing a second degree in Law, with the aim of becoming a barrister, but I'm not so sure about that now -- though it's still an option.) I'll just have to work hard, see what happens and hope for the best then. :eek:
Indeed. Just do the best you can and try and relax a bit - I know it sounds trite, but life is a lot more pleasant when you're not constantly keeping one eye on trying to get somewhere else. Just enjoy your course and stay on top of the work, and if you're first material it will come easily.
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faber niger
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#43
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#43
(Original post by IlexAquifolium)
Indeed. Just do the best you can and try and relax a bit - I know it sounds trite, but life is a lot more pleasant when you're not constantly keeping one eye on trying to get somewhere else. Just enjoy your course and stay on top of the work, and if you're first material it will come easily.
I know, you're right. I just want to achieve something with my life. But obviously not at the expense of my life. Thanks for your help anyway.
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Robob
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#44
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#44
Don't go to lectures.

Don't start work until at least 9 hours before it's due in.

Don't revise until the day before.

Seriously, it works.
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faber niger
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#45
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#45
(Original post by Robob)
Don't go to lectures.

Don't start work until at least 9 hours before it's due in.

Don't revise until the day before.

Seriously, it works.
Welcome to Sarcasm Anonymous. You are absolutely fine as you are and certainly don't have a problem.
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Kitty Pimms
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#46
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#46
(Original post by jismith1989)
Welcome to Sarcasm Anonymous. You are fine as you are and don't have a problem.
I suspect he was being serious, and he has a point. I know some very lazy but brilliant people who got firsts without ever trying!
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evil groove
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(Original post by Robob)
Don't go to lectures.

Don't start work until at least 9 hours before it's due in.

Don't revise until the day before.

Seriously, it works.
Just to say (for the avoidance of doubt) that there is no way this would work for my degree. Number cruching data sets with thousands of entries accurately takes days, not nine hours (and that's before you've even done any analysis work. You wouldn't even get 15% if you spent 9 hours on my coursework.
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Robob
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#48
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#48
(Original post by evil groove)
Just to say (for the avoidance of doubt) that there is no way this would work for my degree. Number cruching data sets with thousands of entries accurately takes days, not nine hours (and that's before you've even done any analysis work. You wouldn't even get 15% if you spent 9 hours on my coursework.
Get with a group of friends and each do 5 hours.
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evil groove
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#49
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#49
(Original post by Robob)
Get with a group of friends and each do 5 hours.
Yes, I mean, that is not completely unforseeable. For me though, at least, I do all my own work; I don't trust others to be so accurate.
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Robob
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(Original post by evil groove)
Yes, I mean, that is not completely unforseeable. For me though, at least, I do all my own work; I don't trust others to be so accurate.
They'd probably be more accurate than me... but then again I've never done anything quite like what you describe, seems a little pointless.
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evil groove
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(Original post by Robob)
They'd probably be more accurate than me... but then again I've never done anything quite like what you describe, seems a little pointless.
Haha. Well it reflects data analysis in the "real world"- that's how my lecturer justified it when someone queried as to whether or not this was the best use of our time.
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PoisonDonna
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#52
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(Original post by IlexAquifolium)
Personally, I think the first step is to lose the obsession with it. It's all very well working hard and being dedicated to your subject, but even genii slip up occasionally. If your overriding aim at university is 'I am here to get a first and go to Oxford' you will make yourself very miserable IMHO. Just read around your topic and enjoy it, and if it's meant to be, it will come easily. I think it's a shame people here don't seem to want a first as the culmination of a fascinating three years.
This pretty much sums it up, and I haven't read the entire thread.

I've only done 2 years of my degree, but already realising the trick to doing well is to really be interested in what you are doing. If you're not interested or don't like your subject, you have no desire to push with it and are unlikely to do brilliantly.
A first comes from a good balance of interest, reading, natural understanding and some work, I'm afraid.
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Wise One
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#53
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#53
(Original post by Robob)
Don't go to lectures.

Don't start work until at least 9 hours before it's due in.

Don't revise until the day before.
Hmm. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, there's certainly some truth to this. There's nothing like the mad, slightly sleep-deprived, last-minute rush to stimulate creativity. And by the last minute, you've got nothing else to lose ... and take more risks. Which is a good way to be original. Of course, it can spectacularly misfire ... put I've pulled off firsts under those kind of conditions.

And building on that kind of base, a couple of (contradictory and slightly incoherent) thoughts;

- To come out with a first at the end, you need be original. To be original you need to be willing to take risks. Which means not being afraid of faliure. Particularly in the arts and social sciences, there's a specific type of essay and exam answer (and my friends and coursemates have commented on a similar kind of vibe) with which you have literally no idea how you've done.

- At postgrad level, prestige is far less important than finding faculty members and potential supervisors whose interests align with yours. If, by going to Oxford, you're going to end up in an environment where your uncomfortable working alongside staff who - while excellent classicists - have no idea what you're talking about, then it's perhaps preferable to consign those gleaming spires to the waste-paper basket.

- Specialize in the stuff that interests you, even if it seems comparatively frivolous. Set fire to the protestant work ethic (where success = pain), and trample it underfood. Study cleverly. Jump through the hoops. Play the system. Pick three or four topics from each module, and spent the entire term focusing on those. Forget about the stuff that isn't going to come up on the exam.

- Although this contradicts the stuff about being prepared to take risks ... remember .... Chronic Laziness + Fear of Faliure = Extreme Efficiency.

- A first is not a guarantee of success. Far better is to do the whole societies thing, get internships, spend your summer doing productive stuff related to your subjects, volunteering, and being sociable. At the end of the day, your friends may just be your biggest asset.

- And ask yourself why you want a first / academic career. Frankly, there's no money it, with the gradual death of tenure job security is terrible, it's highly stressful, and the marketisation of higher ed is depressing enough for the students ... let alone those working in it.

- There are no right answers.
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gaijin
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#54
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#54
(Original post by jismith1989)
I have a distinct aim to get one. (As I want to do graduate work at a top university, most hopefully Oxford.) Is it a reasonable aim? Does anyone who has actually got one have any advice? Anyone who hasn't, but think they know how it's done, have any advice, equally? Is there a definite way of going about it?
Find out what 7 in the morning is, and then find out what a pub is and avoid it like the plague.
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Kitty Pimms
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#55
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(Original post by Wise One)
- Although this contradicts the stuff about being prepared to take risks ... remember .... Chronic Laziness + Fear of Faliure = Extreme Efficiency.
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gaijin
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#56
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#56
(Original post by IlexAquifolium)
Personally, I think the first step is to lose the obsession with it. It's all very well working hard and being dedicated to your subject, but even genii slip up occasionally. If your overriding aim at university is 'I am here to get a first and go to Oxford' you will make yourself very miserable IMHO. Just read around your topic and enjoy it, and if it's meant to be, it will come easily. I think it's a shame people here don't seem to want a first as the culmination of a fascinating three years.
I think I stated it elsewhere on this forum. A first from a reputable uni does not automatically guarantee you an amazing well paid job. Its about who you know just as much as what you can show. This where the social side is invaluable.

For instance I've made a lot of friends who work in Japanese companies right now. My friend Sam (not his name - we gave him this nickname LOL) works for an import company and has a lot of business contacts in Japan. As much as you work hard to obtain a first, this type of insight and contact is more invaluable and worth more in the future.
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Wise One
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#57
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#57
(Original post by IlexAquifolium)
Remind me to rep you tomorrow.
I had a spreadsheet for writing progress over the last 68 days of my final year.

The curve is below. Apparently, it's called the cognitive surplus and - when applied to gin - was the cause of the industrial revolution.
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apotoftea
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#58
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Really? That's scary. Because I would need funding. And the AHRC is, it seems, by far the biggest provider of it. Would a first and an Oxford place be more of a 'golden ticket' do you think? Or is it still a risky business?
Not really. AHRC funding from this year onwards is now done by quota places. Basically means that for the Classics department at Oxford, they have a set number of applications that can be forwarded to the AHRC for the final competition. So not only have you got to be one of the lucky few (and I mean few, for the uni where I'm doing my MA - the relevent department only had 8 places!) to be chosen as a potential applicant to be forward to the AHRC, you are then re-assessed against all the other students doing Classics at other universities by the AHRC to see whether you're deemed good enough to actually get the funding.
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princess_sue
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#59
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how about - work...hard!
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trm90
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There's all this talk about originality, but I'm doing a science degree which comprises of a course that's about 50% descriptive science (eg essays, long answers, etc) throughout. How am I supposed to be 'original' in a science degree? I mean, how does it apply?

I always get the feeling that getting a top grade in a geology degree at university is literally just absorbing as much information as you possibly can. I'm so confused about it all. When so many people on TSR mention 'natural flair', I don't see how it'd work in my case. Or, for example, 'being original'. I have no idea how you could apply the above two to a non engineering/physics/chemistry/maths degree.

*sigh*
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