Achieving a First Class Degree in Economics Watch

JME10
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Hey everyone. I shall be starting an Economics degree in October and wanted people's valuable insights and experiences on what it takes to get a first in the subject beyond the obvious working really hard. Specific points and opinions are what i'm looking for people so feel free to share. Thank you.
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Enoch.
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You need power
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Frenchous
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If you're good at maths take plenty of it. You will avoid the uncertainty of the essay based modules.
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gradjobplease
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(Original post by JME10)
Hey everyone. I shall be starting an Economics degree in October and wanted people's valuable insights and experiences on what it takes to get a first in the subject beyond the obvious working really hard. Specific points and opinions are what i'm looking for people so feel free to share. Thank you.
Speaking from experience...

#1 tip? Simply do more work than your cohort

Additional tips

Learn the lecture material inside out
Learn the textbook chapters inside out
Learn the journal papers on the reading list inside out
Find additional relevant journal papers to read and make sure to cite them in exam answers
Develop your own thoughts on what you're being taught
Make sure to make use of lecturers, ask them what they like to see in a 1st class essay, they're normally happy to tell you
Pick units you'll think you'll do well in
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JME10
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(Original post by gradjobplease)
Speaking from experience...

#1 tip? Simply do more work than your cohort

Additional tips

Learn the lecture material inside out
Learn the textbook chapters inside out
Learn the journal papers on the reading list inside out
Find additional relevant journal papers to read and make sure to cite them in exam answers
Develop your own thoughts on what you're being taught
Make sure to make use of lecturers, ask them what they like to see in a 1st class essay, they're normally happy to tell you
Pick units you'll think you'll do well in
This is excellent and just what i've been looking for, thanks a lot.
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billyboymccoy
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talk to people in the years above and find out which are the modules to avoid.
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danny111
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Don't take any essay based modules. Best, choose a course where you know you will write few essays.
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yoyo462001
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(Original post by danny111)
Don't take any essay based modules. Best, choose a course where you know you will write few essays.
This would be my advice. I've found with essay modules it's hard to get over 70 and difficult to get under 50.

If you do take essay modules my advice would be to take modules which are 100% exam based, in exams who don't have to reference properly and you're giving more leeway when it comes to things like grammar and structure.
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JME10
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Thanks a lot everyone, got a good set of bullet points. Do you think the Maths is really hard to get to grips with or are you largely ok? (Got B at A-Level and uni is say 15-20 region).
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Frenchous
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(Original post by JME10)
Thanks a lot everyone, got a good set of bullet points. Do you think the Maths is really hard to get to grips with or are you largely ok? (Got B at A-Level and uni is say 15-20 region).
Some people get it when the teacher talks in the class some people need to spend the w-e on it, ask the tutor and so on but if you make the effort you can't fail. That's the beauty of maths.

I know people with A* in maths in my uni who got ridiculously low grades even in the easiest maths module. It's just because A levels are very easy and you can retake them (lol) and they are the kind of people who prefer to think that they will never understand the stuffs rather than being courageous and sitting 2 hours in front of their desk.

To sum up it's all about how hard you work, really.
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JME10
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(Original post by Frenchous)
Some people get it when the teacher talks in the class some people need to spend the w-e on it, ask the tutor and so on but if you make the effort you can't fail. That's the beauty of maths.

I know people with A* in maths in my uni who got ridiculously low grades even in the easiest maths module. It's just because A levels are very easy and you can retake them (lol) and they are the kind of people who prefer to think that they will never understand the stuffs rather than being courageous and sitting 2 hours in front of their desk.

To sum up it's all about how hard you work, really.
Thanks for the insight mate. I realised late on in Maths A-Level that it was more about the hours you put in than 'getting it' so that's really encouraging.
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yoyo462001
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(Original post by Frenchous)
Some people get it when the teacher talks in the class some people need to spend the w-e on it, ask the tutor and so on but if you make the effort you can't fail. That's the beauty of maths.

I know people with A* in maths in my uni who got ridiculously low grades even in the easiest maths module. It's just because A levels are very easy and you can retake them (lol) and they are the kind of people who prefer to think that they will never understand the stuffs rather than being courageous and sitting 2 hours in front of their desk.

To sum up it's all about how hard you work, really.
Theoretical econometrics, yes it's very hard to get a grips with and unless you're good at maths I would avoid taking it. Apart from that the rest is ok to get a grips with so long as you put the effort in. It's like the poster above said, at uni you get ONE shot unlike in A levels where for the majority of modules you get two. It's not easy to say if you get X grade at A level means you'll get Y grade at uni.

I'm not sure if all unis do this but mine allows you to see the module breakdowns from the previous year, i.e. choosing a module where the average mark was 48% and probably isn't the smartest choice regardless of whether it's an essay based module or not.
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dreadnaut
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(Original post by JME10)
Hey everyone. I shall be starting an Economics degree in October and wanted people's valuable insights and experiences on what it takes to get a first in the subject beyond the obvious working really hard. Specific points and opinions are what i'm looking for people so feel free to share. Thank you.
Firstly, good for you for setting your sights high! Keep that goal in mind throughout and I'm sure good things will happen.

Perosnally I found it easier to revise for all my econometrics units, which came out as 4/5 firsts, I found once I had put in the time to get to grips with the material that was that. I knew it and all the dimensions to it.I'm not claiming my grades were perfect, far from it, but 2+2 only has on solution. However there can be many facets to a single argument in an essay, and many subtly different iterations.

Essays can effectively be spun in many many forms, so revising for them, I found much harder. Also I found it quite tiring metally - writing and evaluating essays for several days gets a bit tedious. You're making generally the same points, laying out the bare bones, but then how you flesh it can make or break the essay. The difference between a 55, 65 and 75 is probably not much in terms of the macroscopic points, but I think the difference comes with the explanation, application and synthesis of the individual ideas, which can be very question dependant. Also my fairly neat handwriting goes to **** after the second hour or so, not gonna make the examiner a happy bunny.

I would choose units based (in part) on who teaches them. I owe my success in no small part to the effectiveness, attitude and ability of a small handful of staff. If you're having your doubts about a class teacher, change. Teaching staff can make a world of difference.

If you aren't already I would advise doing some wider reading like following the main economics blogs out there, dabble in papers in areas that interest you even if they seem beyond you, the jist of the article is usually a lot more fundamental and less complex than the methods.

Finally, I think the key to a first is your choice of extracurriculars. For me the time I spent socialising and training with my team kept me sane, helped give me medium term targets and provided a very nice balance to the academic work, so I would recommend finding a society of club that you can really dedicate yourself to.

Also, I've generally avoided booze in my 2nd and 3rd years. By all means enjoy the odd drink with dinner or whatever, but "nights out" on a weeknight were a massive no-no for me. Then again when I drink I get the worst in-bed-till-4 hangovers.
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MagicNMedicine
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Just to echo the advice here from above by the students who said don't take essay based modules....I remember one of my tutors said if you have an exam where there are questions saying "explain such and such a model" or something technical like that, it is easier to get a high mark in them, if you explain the model right you will get full marks for that q. If you do a more essay based question you really have to have top knowledge of the relevant papers to get full marks, which is much harder.
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JME10
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(Original post by dreadnaut)
Firstly, good for you for setting your sights high! Keep that goal in mind throughout and I'm sure good things will happen.

Perosnally I found it easier to revise for all my econometrics units, which came out as 4/5 firsts, I found once I had put in the time to get to grips with the material that was that. I knew it and all the dimensions to it.I'm not claiming my grades were perfect, far from it, but 2+2 only has on solution. However there can be many facets to a single argument in an essay, and many subtly different iterations.

Essays can effectively be spun in many many forms, so revising for them, I found much harder. Also I found it quite tiring metally - writing and evaluating essays for several days gets a bit tedious. You're making generally the same points, laying out the bare bones, but then how you flesh it can make or break the essay. The difference between a 55, 65 and 75 is probably not much in terms of the macroscopic points, but I think the difference comes with the explanation, application and synthesis of the individual ideas, which can be very question dependant. Also my fairly neat handwriting goes to **** after the second hour or so, not gonna make the examiner a happy bunny.

I would choose units based (in part) on who teaches them. I owe my success in no small part to the effectiveness, attitude and ability of a small handful of staff. If you're having your doubts about a class teacher, change. Teaching staff can make a world of difference.

If you aren't already I would advise doing some wider reading like following the main economics blogs out there, dabble in papers in areas that interest you even if they seem beyond you, the jist of the article is usually a lot more fundamental and less complex than the methods.

Finally, I think the key to a first is your choice of extracurriculars. For me the time I spent socialising and training with my team kept me sane, helped give me medium term targets and provided a very nice balance to the academic work, so I would recommend finding a society of club that you can really dedicate yourself to.

Also, I've generally avoided booze in my 2nd and 3rd years. By all means enjoy the odd drink with dinner or whatever, but "nights out" on a weeknight were a massive no-no for me. Then again when I drink I get the worst in-bed-till-4 hangovers.
Thanks a lot for all the advice mate, very comprehensive. Which blogs do you recommend to follow?
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dreadnaut
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(Original post by JME10)
Thanks a lot for all the advice mate, very comprehensive. Which blogs do you recommend to follow?
I follow Paul Krugman,
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...t-perspective/
Stumbling and Mumbling
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad....s-reality.html
(quite left leaning in opinions, but interesting nonetheless)
Stephanie Flanders and Paul Mason of the BBC

I check in on what Greg Mankiw and Brad De Long have to say once in a blue moon. Marginal Revolution and Tyler Cowen's book "How America ate all the low hanging fruit..." (It has a huge title) are worth a read. Cowen seems to be a bit too much of a free marketeer/ gov basher for my liking, but its still worth checking out and getting another perspective.

Generally blogs will refer to others and so it soon snowballs as various bloggers will post retorts and analyis to other posts.

They're all New Keynsian Macro (apart from S+M). S+M is a nice blend of micro and macro/finance topics with a marxist/liberarian flavour which i quite like, it might put some people off, but his posts are grounded in economic findings of the moment.

My lecturers were always suggesting we check out http://www.voxeu.org/ as well.

The Economist is always a good bet http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/ I had a print subscription to The Economist in my second year, and tbh it was a bit of a waste of money. Some would come and I wouldnt even open. By the time the issues arrived the news had already broken and the web was alive with much of the analysis....so to an extent the web was all I needed. The politics was pretty boring to me as well....which is a sizeable chunk of the content.

...I probably havent even covered the tip of the iceberg really, it'll take a little digging to find the bloggers you like but I hope that gives you a flavour of what the blogospheres got on offer
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Datbreh
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(Original post by ussumane)
You need power
What kind of power?:holmes:
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obstacle2
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(Original post by dreadnaut)
I follow Paul Krugman,
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...t-perspective/
Stumbling and Mumbling
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad....s-reality.html
(quite left leaning in opinions, but interesting nonetheless)
Stephanie Flanders and Paul Mason of the BBC

I check in on what Greg Mankiw and Brad De Long have to say once in a blue moon. Marginal Revolution and Tyler Cowen's book "How America ate all the low hanging fruit..." (It has a huge title) are worth a read. Cowen seems to be a bit too much of a free marketeer/ gov basher for my liking, but its still worth checking out and getting another perspective.

Generally blogs will refer to others and so it soon snowballs as various bloggers will post retorts and analyis to other posts.

They're all New Keynsian Macro (apart from S+M). S+M is a nice blend of micro and macro/finance topics with a marxist/liberarian flavour which i quite like, it might put some people off, but his posts are grounded in economic findings of the moment.

My lecturers were always suggesting we check out http://www.voxeu.org/ as well.

The Economist is always a good bet http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/ I had a print subscription to The Economist in my second year, and tbh it was a bit of a waste of money. Some would come and I wouldnt even open. By the time the issues arrived the news had already broken and the web was alive with much of the analysis....so to an extent the web was all I needed. The politics was pretty boring to me as well....which is a sizeable chunk of the content.

...I probably havent even covered the tip of the iceberg really, it'll take a little digging to find the bloggers you like but I hope that gives you a flavour of what the blogospheres got on offer
Aah, I see you're (were?) at Bristol! What units did you take?
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dreadnaut
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(Original post by obstacle2)
Aah, I see you're (were?) at Bristol! What units did you take?
LOL it'll be a rather hefty list

Spoiler:
Show
2nd Yr: QM3, QM5, Games, Growth and Development, Inter Micro and Macro
3rd Yr QMs 4,6,7, Macro Theory and Policy, International, Current Economic Problems

I'm still here. Got a summer job and 99% certain I'm staying the the MSc
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JME10
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(Original post by dreadnaut)
I follow Paul Krugman,
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...t-perspective/
Stumbling and Mumbling
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad....s-reality.html
(quite left leaning in opinions, but interesting nonetheless)
Stephanie Flanders and Paul Mason of the BBC

I check in on what Greg Mankiw and Brad De Long have to say once in a blue moon. Marginal Revolution and Tyler Cowen's book "How America ate all the low hanging fruit..." (It has a huge title) are worth a read. Cowen seems to be a bit too much of a free marketeer/ gov basher for my liking, but its still worth checking out and getting another perspective.

Generally blogs will refer to others and so it soon snowballs as various bloggers will post retorts and analyis to other posts.

They're all New Keynsian Macro (apart from S+M). S+M is a nice blend of micro and macro/finance topics with a marxist/liberarian flavour which i quite like, it might put some people off, but his posts are grounded in economic findings of the moment.

My lecturers were always suggesting we check out http://www.voxeu.org/ as well.

The Economist is always a good bet http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/ I had a print subscription to The Economist in my second year, and tbh it was a bit of a waste of money. Some would come and I wouldnt even open. By the time the issues arrived the news had already broken and the web was alive with much of the analysis....so to an extent the web was all I needed. The politics was pretty boring to me as well....which is a sizeable chunk of the content.

...I probably havent even covered the tip of the iceberg really, it'll take a little digging to find the bloggers you like but I hope that gives you a flavour of what the blogospheres got on offer
Cheers man. I've favourited most of what you suggested and will take your advice on board. Thanks for all the info.
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