Achieving 80% in science degree. Watch

FCB
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Hi guys, wasn't sure where to post this so I thought I would give here a shot.

I'm currently a second year genetics student. I'm hoping to go straight into a phd afterwards. Obviously the higher my grades the better. I've heard from people that achieving 80+% in essay based subjects (my exams this year and next year are essays,) is impossible. Is this true?

I understand ability comes into things. To put it into perspective, I done 0 work in first year and still got a 67% after failing to attend much of the coursework. But these exams didn't comprise of essays. I've put work in this year and completed my coursework, but this year essays are part of the exams, and I'm yet to find out how I've done. I'm kind of worried, because I would at the very least want a first, and achieving the highest possible percentage in last year will only help my cause.

Does the 80+% rule apply to science degrees, or is that only for arts subjects such as history? I'm probably going to no life my last year of uni, and hopefully my research project will boost my grade if I invest enough time into it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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WGR
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No. In science there is only one right answer.
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FCB
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(Original post by WGR)
No. In science there is only one right answer.
I was hoping this was the case. Does it still apply for essays though?
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vineyard13
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I would say it's different for science essays, as it still has to be based on fact and you mainly get marks of how accurate what you write is and what detail you go into. To get into the 80% grade, you need to make references to scientific papers and prove that you've done extra reading outside of what you've learnt in lectures. It's definitely possible
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ChaoticButterfly
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If it is very maths based then it is indeed possible to get 80% plus. There's no wihsy woshy marking going on. It's either correct or wrong.
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FCB
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(Original post by vineyard13)
I would say it's different for science essays, as it still has to be based on fact and you mainly get marks of how accurate what you write is and what detail you go into. To get into the 80% grade, you need to make references to scientific papers and prove that you've done extra reading outside of what you've learnt in lectures. It's definitely possible
Thanks.
I do plenty of extra reading already, so I'm going to step that up even more next year, and try to make sure I am able to incorporate many papers into my essay answers. I guess you're right, in English and history much of it's opinion based, whereas a science essay it's right or wrong, and you can choose how much detail you go into.
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VictorKLee
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It's either correct or wrong.
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llys
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It depends on the essay. Writing a proposal, for example, is different from regurgitating facts.
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redferry
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(Original post by FCB)
Thanks.
I do plenty of extra reading already, so I'm going to step that up even more next year, and try to make sure I am able to incorporate many papers into my essay answers. I guess you're right, in English and history much of it's opinion based, whereas a science essay it's right or wrong, and you can choose how much detail you go into.
I would say it is pretty much impossible. I studied a Biology degree so similar to yours -a lot of essays. The criteria for 80% on essays is usually a publishable standard of work. So unless you can produce a publishable standard of work under exam conditions you won't be getting 80%. I think the highest mark in my year was 75 overall and they worked so so hard and were really intelligent.

I did tonnes of extra reading etc and still only averaged around 64 in my exams. Bareley anyone got over 70 for most of them. My housemate got exactly on 80 in his exam for one module but he was the only person in the year to manage 80 in an exam and it was on a topic he has studied since he was a child (insects)
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ChaoticButterfly
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The highest mark I have ever got in an exam was 95% in a maths exam on vector calculus and matrices. :smug:

Shame it was worth diddly squat of the overall degree. :rolleyes:
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vineyard13
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it all depends on the degree and what uni you're at as well - your uni may have posted a marking scheme that the lecturers/examiners use? if not it's worth asking to see one for an essay question...
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FCB
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(Original post by redferry)
I would say it is pretty much impossible. I studied a Biology degree so similar to yours -a lot of essays. The criteria for 80% on essays is usually a publishable standard of work. So unless you can produce a publishable standard of work under exam conditions you won't be getting 80%. I think the highest mark in my year was 75 overall and they worked so so hard and were really intelligent.

I did tonnes of extra reading etc and still only averaged around 64 in my exams. Bareley anyone got over 70 for most of them. My housemate got exactly on 80 in his exam for one module but he was the only person in the year to manage 80 in an exam and it was on a topic he has studied since he was a child (insects)
What uni was this at?
And no offence but some peoples classification of "tons" of reading is what others consider not much at all.
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redferry
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(Original post by FCB)
What uni was this at?
And no offence but some peoples classification of "tons" of reading is what others consider not much at all.
Bristol. I read 150 - 200 papers for every unit in third year. I ****ing love my subject.

With exams it has to be well structured, referenced fully, and cater to what the marker wants which is not always consistent. Its not about what you know but how good you are are at writing well in time pressured conditions, and how effective you are at memorising names and dates.

I would advise on picking the easiest dissertation you can, the best way to bump your average up is by getting very good marks in that.

To get 80 overall I'd say you'd want to be getting 85-90% in written work. I managed 85 twice.
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