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
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.
no way are you going to get a first as a result of "stylistic points and tricks".
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.
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?
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.
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.