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    I would agree that unless you wanted to go into academia or a technical job such as research within an industry then a 2.1 is quite sufficient to get most places.

    The university system is skewed such that it is possible to get a 2.1 without much effort at all provided you are reasonably intelligent and attend most lectures and do the revision at the end of the year. To get a 1st requires an awful lot more work: not only do you have to do the above, but you need to do lots of timeconsuming extra reading and thinking around the subject. Personally since I love the subject and want to go into academia and a Masters it is no hardship, but it does mean that I have very little free time for drinking and socialising and forgoe a lot of these activities-although I do keep up my socitieties such as Debating, Conservative Society and Politics society and Chess society. Certainly if I did a sport or became a union hack or was a regular party goer etc I personally (and there are some brilliant people who can do all these things and still get a first but most of them are at Oxbridge) my chances of finding the time necessary to get a first would be minimal.

    Personally though I feel that for a lot of competitive jobs all this team skills stuff is overrated. Sure they want people with lives and are able to talk to other human beings but really they want someone intelligent who is capable of hard work and is able to think for himself. I think a 1st is a very good way of demonstrating these qualities. Also another interesting point. Within companies such as investment banking most of the people tend to be the hardworking, quiet "nerds", rather than the social, teamplaying people.
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    (Original post by Saxman)
    I would agree that unless you wanted to go into academia or a technical job such as research within an industry then a 2.1 is quite sufficient to get most places.

    The university system is skewed such that it is possible to get a 2.1 without much effort at all provided you are reasonably intelligent and attend most lectures and do the revision at the end of the year. To get a 1st requires an awful lot more work: not only do you have to do the above, but you need to do lots of timeconsuming extra reading and thinking around the subject. Personally since I love the subject and want to go into academia and a Masters it is no hardship, but it does mean that I have very little free time for drinking and socialising and forgoe a lot of these activities-although I do keep up my socitieties such as Debating, Conservative Society and Politics society and Chess society. Certainly if I did a sport or became a union hack or was a regular party goer etc I personally (and there are some brilliant people who can do all these things and still get a first but most of them are at Oxbridge) my chances of finding the time necessary to get a first would be minimal.

    Personally though I feel that for a lot of competitive jobs all this team skills stuff is overrated. Sure they want people with lives and are able to talk to other human beings but really they want someone intelligent who is capable of hard work and is able to think for himself. I think a 1st is a very good way of demonstrating these qualities. Also another interesting point. Within companies such as investment banking most of the people tend to be the hardworking, quiet "nerds", rather than the social, teamplaying people.
    I am not too sure, when I had my interiview for my part time job they asked a lot of difficult team work questions, a lot of the stuff I wouldn't have been able to asnwer if it wasn't for a team worl module I had.
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    (Original post by Saxman)
    I would agree that unless you wanted to go into academia or a technical job such as research within an industry then a 2.1 is quite sufficient to get most places.
    So can you give me an idea of how many hours work you put in? What subject do you study? Because I' now thinking of doing a Masters.
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    Hi. I study Economics. I have 12 lecture hours and put in around an extra 15-20 hours a week doing extra reading and doing practice questions and preparing for seminars and essays, so around a 30 hour week on average, which still leaves me a lot of time for other activities. That is what works for me. The best advice I could give someone who wanted to get a first is simply stay up to date!! Make sure that you write up your lecture notes the same day as the lecture and do the extra reading and fill in any gaps in your understanding and work at the subject until you understand it. Then at exam time you will have a neat and complete set of notes and it really does make life easier.

    I also think that a lot of getting a First is exam technique and strategy. The syllabuses are so vast that if you tried to learn everything you would get a surface knowledge at best. What I do to get around this is to specialise in around 6-8 topics when in the exam I have to write 2 essays. It is guaranteed that at least 2 of my topics will come up and when they do I can write a really good answer. For the rest of the material I have a broad knowledge based mainly on my lecture notes so that for the shorter answer questions I am OK. I also do an awful lot of essay practice and past paper practice, trying to do as many past paper questions as possible.
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    (Original post by kildare)
    Hmmmm, well it is MUCH more common for someone to get a 2:1 than it is to get a 1st, so I suppose, if you were seeking employment in a very competive area, a 1st would be a significant advantage. That's just my hypothesis though, I haven't got anything concrete to back it up with.

    Yeahhh, that's partially true. It really does depend on what you're looking to do. In certain sectors a first class honours holds far greater value than others. I'd say a first is particularly useful/perhaps even necessary if you're looking for a career in academia at a research led university. Other than that, a first class degree seems to hold great value in law, especially for an aspiring Barrister.

    In most other areas, if you have a 2:1 and you've pursued a good deal of extra curricula activity, there's no significant advantage.
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    i have heard also that employers prefere 2.1's. seems stupid really because firsts reflect on your hard work!
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    (Original post by Saxman)
    Personally since I love the subject and want to go into academia and a Masters it is no hardship
    Sorry to sound a bit thick but could you explain to me what a Masters is please? Is it something you can do as a postgraduate, similar to a PhD??
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    its better to get and A than a B, so surely its better to get a first than a 2:1! i know for the majority of people a first is unacheivable, but this makes it all the more valuable. true, a person who has no other life than academia and gets a first will be much less employable than someone with a 2:1 who does lots of extra curricular stuff, but if the candidates are equal in all other areas then surely if they get a first they will be at a massive advantage.

    getting a first demonstrates a huge amount ot commitment, effort and intellectual ability. surely employers looking for university graduates would value this over someone who got a 2:1 but played in the rugby team? i'm not saying extra curricular activities aren't important, but afterall people go to university to study. i'm not devaluing a 2:1 in any sense, it still takes a hell of a lot of work. but it just seems obvious that someone with a first class degree that only 5% of people in the country achieve is much more able than someone who gets a 2:1 which probably 40% of people get.
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    how hard is it to get a first?? is it like getting full marks in your A levels kind of hard, or like getting an A in your A levels kind of hard... is it something like you have to get 75% or above in all your exams?? how do they decided whether to give you a first or a 2:1??

    ps my dad got a first in his degree so i am aiming for that 2!!

    (Original post by ruthiepoothie)
    how hard is it to get a first?? is it like getting full marks in your A levels kind of hard, or like getting an A in your A levels kind of hard... is it something like you have to get 75% or above in all your exams?? how do they decided whether to give you a first or a 2:1??

    ps my dad got a first in his degree so i am aiming for that 2!!
    you have to get 70% or above in your overall average. it's harder than getting full marks in a-levels hard..
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    A first is obviously a better degree to get looking from an academic perspective. But getting a first often correlates with swotty people who just study all the time and have no life experience, extra-curricular stuff etc. So an employer would often prefer a 'more rounded' person with a 2.1.
    If a really outgoing, interesting, activity-packed person gets a first though, then they can instantly put themselves on top.
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    (Original post by Saxman)
    Hi. I study Economics. I have 12 lecture hours and put in around an extra 15-20 hours a week doing extra reading and doing practice questions and preparing for seminars and essays, so around a 30
    Cool, thank you, sounds like it's not going to be partying everynight for me then. Where are you studying?
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    (Original post by VoodooDoll)
    i'm not saying extra curricular activities aren't important, but afterall people go to university to study.
    University is not just studying IMHO, its a whole life experience (so to put it). I couldn't spend my entire time at uni just going to lectures and sat in the library or in my room, no way.
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    (Original post by Chicken)
    University is not just studying IMHO, its a whole life experience (so to put it). I couldn't spend my entire time at uni just going to lectures and sat in the library or in my room, no way.
    Majorly agree with this!!!
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    (Original post by Leekey)
    Majorly agree with this!!!
    I think most people would agree with that, if I sat in the library for endless hours everyday then my mental health as well as social life would suffer!
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    (Original post by Chicken)
    University is not just studying IMHO, its a whole life experience (so to put it). I couldn't spend my entire time at uni just going to lectures and sat in the library or in my room, no way.
    i never said that people should sit in their rooms all the time studying and being stressed out, thats no good for anyone. i certainly won't be doing it. what i meant was that primarily the reason people go to university (hopefully) is to study their chosen subject, not just for the social life. obviously someone who did nothing but study would be a completly one dimensional person and boring as hell, its a matter of balancing social life and academic stuff. i just think that an employer would value a first class degree higher than loads of extra curricular activities, better to just do one or 2 things in your spare time and concentrate on you're degree.
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    Masters is like a taught postgrad degree whereas PhDs involve doing a dissertation.

    A first is hard to get, much, much harder than getting an A at A-level. The university marking system is arranged so that rather than doing it in absolute terms like the A-level markscheme they try and class a paper using a best-fit approach, looking how well you fulfill the criteria. Quantitative subjects are easier to score highly in than essay questions. But I have never heard of anyone getting more than 80 in an essay based subject. The system for awarding a first in your overall degree is extremely complex, but shoot for getting more than 70 in every module and you should be OK.

    You definitely don't need to work 10 hour days or anything ridiculous to get a first. It is more than anything else just spreading the work over the year, rather than leaving it all till the summer term. My personal tutor recommends that to get a first you work a 9-4 day for 5 days a week and then do what you like for the rest of the day, which leaves plenty of time for moderate partying and getting involved in clubs and societies. You will find that once you get into the study habit you work more efficiently leaving more time for other activities. Also designate one evening or two a week for going out drinking or partying: Friday evening works for me!! It is all about work-life balance.

    Also I would recommend you specialise in some activities be it sports, music, drama etc. That will allow you to get really involved in extracurriculars without letting work suffer. Everyone is good at something so they should try and become brilliant at that thing, rather than just doing lots of things in a piecemeal way.
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    (Original post by Saxman)
    You definitely don't need to work 10 hour days or anything ridiculous to get a first. It is more than anything else just spreading the work over the year, rather than leaving it all till the summer term. My personal tutor recommends that to get a first you work a 9-4 day for 5 days a week and then do what you like for the rest of the day, which leaves plenty of time for moderate partying and getting involved in clubs and societies. You will find that once you get into the study habit you work more efficiently leaving more time for other activities. Also designate one evening or two a week for going out drinking or partying: Friday evening works for me!! It is all about work-life balance.

    Also I would recommend you specialise in some activities be it sports, music, drama etc. That will allow you to get really involved in extracurriculars without letting work suffer. Everyone is good at something so they should try and become brilliant at that thing, rather than just doing lots of things in a piecemeal way.
    Ah that sounds much better I can handle 9-4, but i hate studying late in the evening.nI like being busy anyway, dwadling isn't fun.
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    (Original post by Mysticmin)
    Ah that sounds much better I can handle 9-4, but i hate studying late in the evening.nI like being busy anyway, dwadling isn't fun.
    Also bear in mind that your first year doesn't count towards your degree at all. While its worth getting into good work habits early, there's no point stressing about not getting over 70% in every single essay/test/assignment because it won't count. I only need to get 35% to pass my year, 50% if i decide to do 4 years and have a year abroad. I think its much better to have fun in your first year, as its the only time when you'll be in that position in life where your work doesn't count as part of a major qualification, you're living independantly and there's all sorts of social events to get involved in. Currently, there's no way i'm doing 9-4 five days a week, aside from 15 hours of lectures, i'm maybe doing 2 hours a day maximum of work (including compulsary and extra) and i'm managing to average around 60% which i'm happy with for the moment. I didn't just come to uni to study, i came to gain a bit of experience, have fun and to further my education in order to get the job that i really want at the end of it. At the end of it, i'll be chuffed if i get a 2:1, it'll pretty much set me up for the rest of my life (and it'll mean my a-levels will be ignored!).
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    (Original post by Chicken)
    University is not just studying IMHO, its a whole life experience (so to put it). I couldn't spend my entire time at uni just going to lectures and sat in the library or in my room, no way.
    Hmmmmm.....well maybe in the real world, but not here.
    People should seriously consider the kind of university they want to go to. I often feel like I don't go to a 'proper' university simply because of the sheer amount of work/stress I face here.
 
 
 
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