How to get a First-Class degree Watch

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Saxman
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I am an economics student at Warwick and would very much like to get a first.

At school getting top marks was never a problem as I had a good memory and I was able to work out what the examiners were looking for. Now that I am at university, the sort of essays that usually got me As at A-level only seem to get me a 2:1.

At school it just seemed to be about having a good memory and writing well, but at university this no longer seems to be enough. We get very little feedback from examiners, and apart from a wooly mark scheme I have little to go on with regard to what examiners want to see.

Does anyone have any tips on how to write a first-class essay? (Nothing too basic, as i can write essays, I just need to know the extra stylistic points and tricks that can elevate me from 2:1 to 1
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sisyphus
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depends on the subject, but for artsy subjects, genereally just learning stuff and writing well will get you a good 2:1, but to get a first you also need to show some degree of originality - best advice is to avoid the temptation to regurgitate your lecture notes in your exams, and to read plenty of outside material.
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llama boy
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no way are you going to get a first as a result of "stylistic points and tricks".
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Vitriol
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I think you need a natural flare for the subject to get a first. A 2:1 isn't a problem if you work hard. I got a 2:1 in finance and economics after straight As at A-Level (with plenty of perfect 100% scores in modules) but only got 5 first class marks out of 20 modules at uni. I found uni work far harder than A-Level though.
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picju96
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I'm getting 2.1's for my essays too, although I think they're rubbish. Anywho, my tutor is saying that I need to include more details in the essay that aren't covered in the lectures, reading around the subject. It's mostly statistics I have to remember, percentages, ratios that sort of thing, dunno what it's like in economics though.

P.S do you know a michelle doing economics short, blonde, pretty, plays cornet?
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Saxman
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Hi picju96. Unfortunately I do not know a pretty girl called Michelle. I am second year, so she may be a first year or a third year.

One thing that has confused me about essays is knowing what to include. The essay questions are a lot vaguer than A-level and there are many different issues that I could address, so it is hard to trade-off between breadth and depth.
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illumintai
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(Original post by Saxman)
Hi picju96. Unfortunately I do not know a pretty girl called Michelle. I am second year, so she may be a first year or a third year.

One thing that has confused me about essays is knowing what to include. The essay questions are a lot vaguer than A-level and there are many different issues that I could address, so it is hard to trade-off between breadth and depth.
how about 1st class Maths degree in Uni ??

Although, hard to learn but questions arent vague, Are they ???
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J.S.
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(Original post by Saxman)
I am an economics student at Warwick and would very much like to get a first.

At school getting top marks was never a problem as I had a good memory and I was able to work out what the examiners were looking for. Now that I am at university, the sort of essays that usually got me As at A-level only seem to get me a 2:1.

At school it just seemed to be about having a good memory and writing well, but at university this no longer seems to be enough. We get very little feedback from examiners, and apart from a wooly mark scheme I have little to go on with regard to what examiners want to see.

Does anyone have any tips on how to write a first-class essay? (Nothing too basic, as i can write essays, I just need to know the extra stylistic points and tricks that can elevate me from 2:1 to 1

I did Econ/Pol at undergrad. level, and I've been asked this question many times. I guess it's personal, there's no one particular route that leads to a first class honours.

I'd say attend all your lecturers and make the most of your seminars. Before you go into each seminar be confident, I'd attempt to compete and I'd want to ensure that after every seminar I could leave the room thinking I knew more than everybody else! If you're able to dictate the discussion, able to ask fascinating questions, go beyond the normal requirements, then all this is encouraging.

In essays, towards the end of uni I thought I could (with a few exceptions) be able to identify what was a first class piece of work. I think examiners are particularly impressed with the use of original arguments, particularly those that come from a different line of thought, or a different line of literature than what your university has recommended to you.


Best of luck to you all
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brainchylde
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The only thing you need to do to get a first for an essay in uni is go further than they expect of you.

For example, if your a science student, and your writing on a topic, you need to show so much more than what you have just been taught in class. Therefore, you go away, and do a load of research, and include this, fully referenced of course, in your essay. If your writing about a particular problem, for example, you need to go away, explain how people have solved it up to this point, point out what proposals have been made as a better route to solving the problem that may be implemented in the future.

For example, I once wrote an essay on QoS Issues. I wrote about everything I'd been lectured on, went in to great detail, then went away, researched some proposals, popped those in, explained the basis of the proposals etc and referenced them (research papers and so on). Came out with a first too.

Basically, in university, you can't get away with writing up what you've been told in lectures. Higher Ed is supposed to encourage wider reading and a greater knowledge of your subject as a whole - when a lecturer says 'read chapter 2 - 3 of a **** book by a.crap.writer" you should do it, no matter what your opinion.

Anyway - good luck with your future essays, let us know how you get on.

Tim
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