*LittleGem*
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Hey,
Got my results for semester one of my second year today - I'm really happy with firsts across the board.

While talking to a lecturer about my results today, he noted that it is very rare for English departments in UK universities to ever give 80% or higher. Personally I've never achieved over 80%, (nor do I know of anyone who has), so I guess this rings true.
However, I have friends on other courses who can (and regularly do) get anything up to 100% - my boyfriend complains if he gets anything less than 95% on his Computer Science course!

I'm quite intrigued by this...so I was just wondering...have any TSR-ers ever got over 80% for an English undergraduate assignment/exam/essay? If not, why are English papers marked so low?
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the_alba
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(Original post by *LittleGem*)
Hey,
Got my results for semester one of my second year today - I'm really happy with firsts across the board.

While talking to a lecturer about my results today, he noted that it is very rare for English departments in UK universities to ever give 80% or higher. Personally I've never achieved over 80%, (nor do I know of anyone who has), so I guess this rings true.
However, I have friends on other courses who can (and regularly do) get anything up to 100% - my boyfriend complains if he gets anything less than 95% on his Computer Science course!

I'm quite intrigued by this...so I was just wondering...have any TSR-ers ever got over 80% for an English undergraduate assignment/exam/essay? If not, why are English papers marked so low?
Firstly, well done on your firsts Most English departments mark out of 85 (so technically it's not a percentage at all), whereas science departments tend to mark out of 100, hence the anomaly.

Getting over 80 basically means your work is 'publishable', though in practice few undergrad essays would be actually publishable simply because they're too short to be journal length. But 'publishable standard' is the general rule. I'm a bit weird, in that I graduated from my English degree (University of Hull) with an average of 83. I think the nearest to me averaged 71 or so, which is more normal, so it's not a case of Hull awarding easy 80s (and I did publish one of my undergrad essays). I was just abnormal though - a literary obsessive who at the time had delusions of being William Empson

A recipe for getting 80+ would consist of (in no particular order) a stylish and extremely authoritative (which you'll have to partially fake) register; thorough knowledge and understanding of the text / author / period you're writing about; knowledge of more obscure things (minor or unpublished works for instance), which you can make pertinent to an argument; a certain scholarly arrogance which allows you to breeze or blag your way through material you feel slightly less confident with; a good work ethic.
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evantej
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(Original post by the_alba)
Firstly, well done on your firsts Most English departments mark out of 85 (so technically it's not a percentage at all), whereas science departments tend to mark out of 100, hence the anomaly.

Getting over 80 basically means your work is 'publishable', though in practice few undergrad essays would be actually publishable simply because they're too short to be journal length. But 'publishable standard' is the general rule. I'm a bit weird, in that I graduated from my English degree (University of Hull) with an average of 83. I think the nearest to me averaged 71 or so, which is more normal, so it's not a case of Hull awarding easy 80s (and I did publish one of my undergrad essays). I was just abnormal though - a literary obsessive who at the time had delusions of being William Empson

A recipe for getting 80+ would consist of (in no particular order) a stylish and extremely authoritative (which you'll have to partially fake) register; thorough knowledge and understanding of the text / author / period you're writing about; knowledge of more obscure things (minor or unpublished works for instance), which you can make pertinent to an argument; a certain scholarly arrogance which allows you to breeze or blag your way through material you feel slightly less confident with; a good work ethic.
Post or PM me the details for the undergraduate essay that was published!

OP, I was a former computing student and the marking dynamic is completely different to that of the humanities so you can make no useful comparisons to be honest. With regards to the English question, I have never gotten close to 80% nor have I met anyone who has either. I cannot help thinking that the_alba is a bit of freak in this respect; so long as you are getting a first then you have no concerns!
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SillyRodent
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(Original post by the_alba)
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Kudos on how well you've done! I'm in my first year at Leeds, scraping 2:1's.
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polka_dott
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I think I may have got a 1st on a critical studies essay, by the high average I got for the module compared to the first essay I did, I just wish I knew how so I could do it all the time :awesome:

I do not personally know anyone who got 80% on any module even though I know people who got 1sts in their English degrees, seems really unheard of for someone in an English Literature degree!
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Nocturna
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I've never had less than a first on any English module although I've only had one 80.

I do know one girl that got a 90 in final year and was curious as to how she did it. Apparently she disproved one of our lecturers, which probably would deserve an outrageously high mark!
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andyyy
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I got 85% both in my essay and my exam last term. :w00t: It's true that I don't know anybody else who got over 80%, but I assumed it's because I don't know that many people who do English lit, not because it's that rare. I think it was just a combination of lower grading scheme since we're first-years, me being passionate enough about the subject to read obscure-ish secondary sources (for example, we did Frankenstein and I read a good bit of Mary Shelley's diary, then we did the comedy - on Much Ado About Nothing and The Cripple of Innishmaan- so I read a lot about different philosophical theories about humour and what produces it) and insisting on meeting and talking with my tutor a lot.
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ChocRaisin
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Hey, well done on your results!

I got 95% in my essay last semester, and 86% in that course overall...but that was first year so I don't know if they are particularly lenient?? I don't really know that many people doing English lit either (although it appears the poster above me is on my course ) so haven't come across anyone else getting over 80%. However, I'm pretty convinced last semester was a pure fluke so not anticipating getting anywhere near than from now on in.
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hobnob
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85? 86? 95??
OK, clearly I just suck, big time...
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evantej
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(Original post by hobnob)
85? 86? 95??
OK, clearly I just suck, big time...
Both are from Scottish universities so I am tempted to suggest that that might have something to do with it.

But it is all relative anyway. Their marks are in first year and suggest that their knowledge is in advance of what is expected; that does not necessarily mean it was fantastic work per se (not that you really need to be told this). Nevertheless, I did try to find mark schemes for Aberdeen and Glasgow which might shed some light on this but could not find anything; not even for postgraduate study either.

the_alba's work, on the other hand, got published which sort out makes the issue of her mark and performance redundant really. Still missing the details and link for it it must be said though!
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Kasc
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It's similar-ish with engineering:

what we have to do is pretty obvious, demonstrate clear thorough knowledge and get your points across concisely. I imagine it's a A LOT easier to do with engineering because there's only ever one real solution/answer; plus you know when it's right or wrong.

However whilst you may thing we get it off easier... I have to do a tonne more work than my englist house mate ;-)
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mamooshka
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One of my friends got a 90% on her first ever assignment at uni in creative writing, I was so jealous! She should be an author. The highest mark I've received is a 78 and I'm in third year. :sad:

I keep asking my tutors for a sort of 'how to improve' tutorial as I seem to have reached a glass ceiling but the responses I get usually involve "more reading", which is frustrating - I seem to live in the library these days. I'm considering setting up a tent on the third floor.
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Natsworthy
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I've not been putting in nearly as much effort as I should have. Some essays were started an hour or two before the deadline and finished a few minutes before said deadline. So I've been getting 2:1/2:2's. Only need 40% so as long as I'm not scraping over the line I'm not too bothered. Not really advisable for building up a good work ethic obviously.

But the hell am I going to let myself do that for the second and third years. If I don't get a first on most assignments I'll be really disappointed. Well done on your firsts by the way .
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the_alba
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(Original post by evantej)
Both are from Scottish universities so I am tempted to suggest that that might have something to do with it.

But it is all relative anyway. Their marks are in first year and suggest that their knowledge is in advance of what is expected; that does not necessarily mean it was fantastic work per se (not that you really need to be told this). Nevertheless, I did try to find mark schemes for Aberdeen and Glasgow which might shed some light on this but could not find anything; not even for postgraduate study either.

the_alba's work, on the other hand, got published which sort out makes the issue of her mark and performance redundant really. Still missing the details and link for it it must be said though!
You're right, it must be quite different in Scotland, since first years casually getting marks in the 90s is unheard of to me. I've never given a mark higher than 73 to a first year, and he was exceptionally good.

The essay I published (which of course I had to double in length for publication) was on contemporary Irish poetry for the Dublin-based poetry journal Metre. I'm afraid there's no link yet, as the editors are only now in the process of digitalising the archive. There's a chance Bristol Uni library might have subscribed though, as there's a Bristol professor (who now works elsewhere) who used to contrbute quite a bit. I wouldn't consider it remotely representative of the work I do now, though.
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polka_dott
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(Original post by Natsworthy)
I've not been putting in nearly as much effort as I should have. Some essays were started an hour or two before the deadline and finished a few minutes before said deadline. So I've been getting 2:1/2:2's. Only need 40% so as long as I'm not scraping over the line I'm not too bothered. Not really advisable for building up a good work ethic obviously.

But the hell am I going to let myself do that for the second and third years. If I don't get a first on most assignments I'll be really disappointed. Well done on your firsts by the way .
Where are you doing English? I am at Loughborough first year... our tutors insist they grade our work the same whether we are first or third years. My worst mark was 54 but I really did not like that module. I got 63% for the first semester but still feel I can do a lot better :rolleyes:
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Natsworthy
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(Original post by polka_dott)
Where are you doing English? I am at Loughborough first year... our tutors insist they grade our work the same whether we are first or third years. My worst mark was 54 but I really did not like that module. I got 63% for the first semester but still feel I can do a lot better :rolleyes:
Falmouth. Yeah I know I can improve a lot. The only time to worry is when I believe that I've done my absolute best and yet I'm still not getting the marks I want.

For this semester I'll probably get better marks, at least in my 'Critical Practices' unit.
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Dann
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Some of these are insanely high marks :eek3:

I guess I had better get back to the books if I'm going to catch up :p:
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Bambi2803
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I got 85 once for an essay but i literally spent months on it and looked at original drafts of the studied work. Absolutely consumed my life. Usually I average 75-78
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megaduck
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I got the top first in English at Warwick <ahem> years ago and the highest I ever got was 75.
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*LittleGem*
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This makes me feel a lot better thank you all! It's really interesting to see how different universities in different places do things differently, and also fascinating to see the similarities too!
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