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    Hello,
    Basically, I'm really worried that I won't be good enough to study English at my chosen Uni. I've recently firmed Exeter because I love both the course and university, however I'm worried that I'm just not good enough at English to study there. Although I am predicted an A, I feel this is only down to luck; I found the questions in the January exam to be the perfect ones to answer and although I did really well, I just don't feel as intelligent as some of the other people who might be studying there. Recently, I've been struggling with the coursework and I'm wondering: if I'm struggling with this coursework at A-level, am I actually suited to studying English at university, particularly at one with such a high reputation?
    What I would really like to know is: will the majority of students find the work hard at the beginning of the year? Are the requirements for the coursework and exams similar to those at A level and exactly how hard is it to pass the first year?
    Thank you for your help
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    These are natural worries. Maybe they're accurate. But maybe they're not! Maybe you were lucky with the exam questions in January -- but then again, maybe what felt to you like a lucky set of questions was partly the result of your preparation and you having a mind which copes well with English exams. You might be struggling with your coursework because you're good enough at English to perceive difficulties and ramifications which would go over others' heads.

    I struggled with the coursework and the exams at A-level and got a B. Then I went to university and graduated top of my year. So I'd say you shouldn't trust your A-level experience as a measure of how you'll do at university, whether it's good or bad. I didn't go to Exeter, so I can't speak with much authority about their course in particular. But from my experience of my first year at university: most people, however good or bad they were as students, initially wobbled a bit adjusting to the different demands of undergraduate-level work. The requirements are different -- usually, undergraduate-level essays offer you more freedom, and they're marked less mechanistically than A-level essays, but also more demandingly, if that makes sense? Maybe that's not very helpful. As for how hard it is to pass the first year, just passing really wasn't very hard at all.

    Also, here's a thing about English degrees: it's reasonably hard to find a job teaching English at university, as there more well-qualified people with English PhDs than there are positions, and so even less prestigious/famous universities often have a bunch of reasonably good lecturers in English, running rigorous courses. That's not to say there isn't any variation in difficulty and teaching quality between English degrees at different universities, but there's less than perhaps you might expect going by all the (often rather empty) noise people make about unis' relative reputations. So you might not find the course much easier at a less prestigious institution -- indeed, depending on differences in assessment style and course organisation which are the results of different pedagogical ideas and departmental traditions rather than of relative departmental prestige, you might find an English BA at at [randomly selected less prestigious university] harder than the course at Exeter. And even if you do wind up struggling, it's better to give it a go and see what happens than not to try at all.

    I hope some of this is helpful -- and good luck with your A-levels.
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    I can assure you at least 50% (if not a lot more) are worried about not being good enough. Uni is meant to separate the good from the great, so its natural to worry. I'm sure you will do fine at it. At least you care enough about your education, which some people don't.
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    (Original post by QHF)
    These are natural worries. Maybe they're accurate. But maybe they're not! Maybe you were lucky with the exam questions in January -- but then again, maybe what felt to you like a lucky set of questions was partly the result of your preparation and you having a mind which copes well with English exams. You might be struggling with your coursework because you're good enough at English to perceive difficulties and ramifications which would go over others' heads.

    I struggled with the coursework and the exams at A-level and got a B. Then I went to university and graduated top of my year. So I'd say you shouldn't trust your A-level experience as a measure of how you'll do at university, whether it's good or bad. I didn't go to Exeter, so I can't speak with much authority about their course in particular. But from my experience of my first year at university: most people, however good or bad they were as students, initially wobbled a bit adjusting to the different demands of undergraduate-level work. The requirements are different -- usually, undergraduate-level essays offer you more freedom, and they're marked less mechanistically than A-level essays, but also more demandingly, if that makes sense? Maybe that's not very helpful. As for how hard it is to pass the first year, just passing really wasn't very hard at all.

    Also, here's a thing about English degrees: it's reasonably hard to find a job teaching English at university, as there more well-qualified people with English PhDs than there are positions, and so even less prestigious/famous universities often have a bunch of reasonably good lecturers in English, running rigorous courses. That's not to say there isn't any variation in difficulty and teaching quality between English degrees at different universities, but there's less than perhaps you might expect going by all the (often rather empty) noise people make about unis' relative reputations. So you might not find the course much easier at a less prestigious institution -- indeed, depending on differences in assessment style and course organisation which are the results of different pedagogical ideas and departmental traditions rather than of relative departmental prestige, you might find an English BA at at [randomly selected less prestigious university] harder than the course at Exeter. And even if you do wind up struggling, it's better to give it a go and see what happens than not to try at all.

    I hope some of this is helpful -- and good luck with your A-levels.
    Thank you; everything you've said has helped! I think I'm generally put off by things I struggle on, which I know is a bit ridiculous, but being aware that most people will be in a similar situation to me has helped.
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    (Original post by CodeJack)
    I can assure you at least 50% (if not a lot more) are worried about not being good enough. Uni is meant to separate the good from the great, so its natural to worry. I'm sure you will do fine at it. At least you care enough about your education, which some people don't.
    Thank you! *fingers crossed I actually get in*
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    (Original post by theimprobableone)
    I think I'm generally put off by things I struggle on, which I know is a bit ridiculous, but being aware that most people will be in a similar situation to me has helped.
    It is ridiculous, isn't it? But also very widespread. I was complaining to my supervisor only the other day that my instinctive response to a perplexing problem is to give up. I don't think that feeling is really something that most of us ever get over. At best people just get better at managing it and working round it.

    So, y'know, don't feel too guilty over it. Just recognise it's happening and work through it if you can!
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    (Original post by theimprobableone)
    Hello,
    Basically, I'm really worried that I won't be good enough to study English at my chosen Uni. I've recently firmed Exeter because I love both the course and university, however I'm worried that I'm just not good enough at English to study there. Although I am predicted an A, I feel this is only down to luck; I found the questions in the January exam to be the perfect ones to answer and although I did really well, I just don't feel as intelligent as some of the other people who might be studying there. Recently, I've been struggling with the coursework and I'm wondering: if I'm struggling with this coursework at A-level, am I actually suited to studying English at university, particularly at one with such a high reputation?
    What I would really like to know is: will the majority of students find the work hard at the beginning of the year? Are the requirements for the coursework and exams similar to those at A level and exactly how hard is it to pass the first year?
    Thank you for your help
    Succeeding at uni isn't necessarily about intelligence. In fact, it's much more about hard work over intelligence than A-Levels are, so don't stress. I am an English graduate and I think the best advice I can give you is to read all of your set texts as early as possible (and if you have time, re-read them, although I never had time for this!). Once you've read them, just think about them. Think about what you find interesting in them. English at uni is much more open than at school/sixth form. You can twist the questions to make them your own, and often you won't be given a question at all. Just try to get confidence in your own opinion and you won't go far wrong (that, and read up on what critics say and incorporate their ideas into your essays, quoting them and agreeing/disagreeing with them). In my view, English degrees are easy to pass because there is no wrong answer. You do have to put the time into doing the reading but if you do that and use your brain, you'll be absolutely fine. Don't stress!

    P.S. I also think that the first year is generally quite easy because they transition you into it, it gets harder each year on the average course, so don't worry, you build up to it.

    Also, how are you struggling with your coursework? Don't know what to say? Don't know how to write a good essay?
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    (Original post by theimprobableone)
    Hello,
    Basically, I'm really worried that I won't be good enough to study English at my chosen Uni. I've recently firmed Exeter because I love both the course and university, however I'm worried that I'm just not good enough at English to study there. Although I am predicted an A, I feel this is only down to luck; I found the questions in the January exam to be the perfect ones to answer and although I did really well, I just don't feel as intelligent as some of the other people who might be studying there. Recently, I've been struggling with the coursework and I'm wondering: if I'm struggling with this coursework at A-level, am I actually suited to studying English at university, particularly at one with such a high reputation?
    What I would really like to know is: will the majority of students find the work hard at the beginning of the year? Are the requirements for the coursework and exams similar to those at A level and exactly how hard is it to pass the first year?
    Thank you for your help
    Two things tell me that you will be fine. The first is that you wrote that post with no spelling or grammatical errors. Secondly, and more importantly, the fact that you wrote it all all shows that you care enough to want to do well. That is an extremely important quality in a person at university.

    You will no doubt find the increase in difficulty daunting at first; I certainly did, but that's precisely the point of having first year not count toward your final grade. It gives everyone a chance to acclimatise themselves to the demands of university work so that by the second year, you have a good enough grasp of the core skills to be able to produce work that accurately reflects your ability.
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    (Original post by QHF)
    It is ridiculous, isn't it? But also very widespread. I was complaining to my supervisor only the other day that my instinctive response to a perplexing problem is to give up. I don't think that feeling is really something that most of us ever get over. At best people just get better at managing it and working round it.

    So, y'know, don't feel too guilty over it. Just recognise it's happening and work through it if you can!
    Thank you very much. I think most people have some sort of fear that they will ultimately fail, but I guess I'll just have to work with what I can do naturally and then work hard to build on my weaknesses.
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    (Original post by cymro7)
    Two things tell me that you will be fine. The first is that you wrote that post with no spelling or grammatical errors. Secondly, and more importantly, the fact that you wrote it all all shows that you care enough to want to do well. That is an extremely important quality in a person at university.

    You will no doubt find the increase in difficulty daunting at first; I certainly did, but that's precisely the point of having first year not count toward your final grade. It gives everyone a chance to acclimatise themselves to the demands of university work so that by the second year, you have a good enough grasp of the core skills to be able to produce work that accurately reflects your ability.
    Thank you. Reading things like this has brought up my confidence somewhat and I guess I'll just have to keep working hard!
    I'm glad there weren't any grammatical errors in there; that certainly wouldn't bode well for someone aspiring to study English!
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    (Original post by Louise1787)
    Succeeding at uni isn't necessarily about intelligence. In fact, it's much more about hard work over intelligence than A-Levels are, so don't stress. I am an English graduate and I think the best advice I can give you is to read all of your set texts as early as possible (and if you have time, re-read them, although I never had time for this!). Once you've read them, just think about them. Think about what you find interesting in them. English at uni is much more open than at school/sixth form. You can twist the questions to make them your own, and often you won't be given a question at all. Just try to get confidence in your own opinion and you won't go far wrong (that, and read up on what critics say and incorporate their ideas into your essays, quoting them and agreeing/disagreeing with them). In my view, English degrees are easy to pass because there is no wrong answer. You do have to put the time into doing the reading but if you do that and use your brain, you'll be absolutely fine. Don't stress!

    P.S. I also think that the first year is generally quite easy because they transition you into it, it gets harder each year on the average course, so don't worry, you build up to it.

    Also, how are you struggling with your coursework? Don't know what to say? Don't know how to write a good essay?
    Thank you; it's been really interesting to see everyone's comments and they've definitely helped.
    I've been struggling a bit with hitting the AOs in the coursework, however it seems to be coming together better now, which is promising. So fingers crossed!
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    A-levels are supposed to be challenging. I don't know anyone that found any of their A-levels easy. They're supposed to be designed to be very similar to what is done at uni in order to prepare you. Just be positive Doubting yourself won't help at all. I really struggled with my Lit coursework and just found out today I got full marks, which just goes to show you have to put the work in to succeed. Some lucky people are just natural whizzes at things but some of us have to work for what we want and in my opinion that's the better way to be because you learn and grow through the experiences Everyone goes to Uni to learn, so don't think that you'll be the stupid one at the back of the class.

    Good luck!
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    I got a C at A level and I'm now getting high 2.1s/1sts at uni level in third year. It takes some time to perfect your essay technique, in the first two years my essays were high 2.2 standard, but once it clicks you'll be fine. I enjoy degree level English MUCH more than A level English. You get more freedom in what you write and don't have to include things for the sake of a mark scheme.
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    To be honest OP, I think the opposite is probably the case. A lot of people who are very talented at a subject tend to worry a lot because they perhaps over-analyse a little. I think this might be the case with you.

    As for English, read the set texts in your holidays. On some modules, you might have to read a novel a week, so you'll have to get used to fast-reading. Like Shelly, I get consistent high 2:1/1sts. If you learn the right way to write an essay, you can keep your coursework essays at a consistently high level.
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    (Original post by c_donovan)
    A-levels are supposed to be challenging. I don't know anyone that found any of their A-levels easy. They're supposed to be designed to be very similar to what is done at uni in order to prepare you. Just be positive Doubting yourself won't help at all. I really struggled with my Lit coursework and just found out today I got full marks, which just goes to show you have to put the work in to succeed. Some lucky people are just natural whizzes at things but some of us have to work for what we want and in my opinion that's the better way to be because you learn and grow through the experiences Everyone goes to Uni to learn, so don't think that you'll be the stupid one at the back of the class.

    Good luck!
    Thank you! Just got my coursework back with 36/40, which is a huge relief. I think I'm a little more confident in my abilities now. I think it was the timing of the coursework deadline - the day after my art exam and two days before my textiles exam - which stressed me out.
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    (Original post by Miss Scarlett)
    To be honest OP, I think the opposite is probably the case. A lot of people who are very talented at a subject tend to worry a lot because they perhaps over-analyse a little. I think this might be the case with you.

    As for English, read the set texts in your holidays. On some modules, you might have to read a novel a week, so you'll have to get used to fast-reading. Like Shelly, I get consistent high 2:1/1sts. If you learn the right way to write an essay, you can keep your coursework essays at a consistently high level.
    I hope this is the case, haha. I'm doing 4 a levels so I think the stress might be getting to me. I think uni might be better as I won't have to worry about art deadlines (I do two art subjects and it's ridiculously stressful!).
 
 
 
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