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What should I be doing to get Distinctions in my Access to HE Science course? watch

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    I'm looking at keep my options open as much as possible so I'm looking to hopefully get Distinctions in all of the 45 credits that allow me to. I've already done A-Level Chemistry and Biology before and got C's in both about 3 years ago.

    We were told that we would only be allowed to give our tutor one draft per assignment, and this now has me worried about getting distinctions. I really need to get it right the first time as we can't resubmit for a higher grade. The tutor can't even tell us what kind of grade the draft will get, only if it has the criteria needed to pass.

    Apart from hitting the assignment criteria to pass, what can I do to make sure I get distinctions? I know I can do it and I really don't want to end up not getting it because I did something stupid or didn't include enough detail on something when I could have done so.

    If anyone has any relevant experience with an Access course (in Science preferably but any would be great) would it be okay if I PM'd you an assignment brief to just so you could explain how you would generally go about it when trying to get a distinction?

    Thanks a lot.
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    (Original post by Pancakes555)
    I'm looking at keep my options open as much as possible so I'm looking to hopefully get Distinctions in all of the 45 credits that allow me to. I've already done A-Level Chemistry and Biology before and got C's in both about 3 years ago.

    We were told that we would only be allowed to give our tutor one draft per assignment, and this now has me worried about getting distinctions. I really need to get it right the first time as we can't resubmit for a higher grade. The tutor can't even tell us what kind of grade the draft will get, only if it has the criteria needed to pass.

    Apart from hitting the assignment criteria to pass, what can I do to make sure I get distinctions? I know I can do it and I really don't want to end up not getting it because I did something stupid or didn't include enough detail on something when I could have done so.

    If anyone has any relevant experience with an Access course (in Science preferably but any would be great) would it be okay if I PM'd you an assignment brief to just so you could explain how you would generally go about it when trying to get a distinction?

    Thanks a lot.
    I'm currently more than halfway through my Access course (Science pathway), and have managed to achieve distinctions in all of my assignments so far. I'm not claiming to be some sort of genius than can guarantee you distinction grades, but if you're still looking for any tips or advice regarding assignments then feel free to send me a PM.

    Kaeden.
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    I believe there's been a few threads like this before, so it's worth having a search through this forum for more tips on this issue.

    Disclaimer: I did Humanities pathway, but some of the principles for success on Access are fairly universal, I think.

    Briefly: read the assignment brief carefully, and repeat that about 10 times. No kidding. Really get it clear in your mind what the tutor is looking for and make sure you address each assessment criterion in your assignment. And make sure you slot in plenty of sound evaluation into your word budget.

    That really applies to writing essays - you need to write a few even for the Science pathway, right? If not, disregard.
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    I'm also trying to find out what a distinction essay looks like, there is not much out there to give direction specific too access courses. I'm just reading some how to write essay books!
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    (Original post by skeptical_john)
    I'm also trying to find out what a distinction essay looks like, there is not much out there to give direction specific too access courses. I'm just reading some how to write essay books!
    I'm currently undertaking an Access to Science course and I'd highly recommend Nigel Warburton's "The Basics of Essay Writing" which you can pick up for around £10.
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    I've attached a couple of screenshots from a task specification from the Access course I did a couple of years ago. It gives an overview of what the assessors expect from an essay, and what you need to do to achieve a merit or a distinction. It's always worth reading these documents carefully and always draw up a plan of your essay before you start writing.

    Name:  EssayWritingScreenshot1.jpg
Views: 629
Size:  132.1 KB

    These last 2 documents are the same, but I can't delete one for some reason.
    Attached Images
      
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    I am not sure how useful Schadenfreude65's pictures are as exam boards will specific grade descriptors for individual assignments. For example in order to get a pass for section 'GR1' in an essay on protein synthesis in human biology you have describe 'the structure and function of several organelles relevant to protein synthesis and/or secretion e.g. ribosomes, golgi body, nucleus, ER'. A merit mark builds on this by showing how organelles collaborate to make proteins. A distinction mark involves all this but uses a specific cell so you are not generalising, and talking about more advanced stuff like the need for miochondria and cytoskeleton for transportation of synthesized proteins.

    Other grade descriptors might be more generic, thinking of referencing and writing here, but even some of these will be subject specific (e.g. performing practicals, data collection).

    My advice would be to select specific examples and explain them in depth (i.e. the cell example here). I picked the outer hair cell of the inner ear. But also be pedantic. It is very easy to gloss over basic stuff like cell structure and organelles and jump into more complex things like protein synthesis. Make sure you are ticking boxes!
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    (Original post by evantej)
    I am not sure how useful Schadenfreude65's pictures are as exam boards will specific grade descriptors for individual assignments. For example in order to get a pass for section 'GR1' in an essay on protein synthesis in human biology you have describe 'the structure and function of several organelles relevant to protein synthesis and/or secretion e.g. ribosomes, golgi body, nucleus, ER'. A merit mark builds on this by showing how organelles collaborate to make proteins. A distinction mark involves all this but uses a specific cell so you are not generalising, and talking about more advanced stuff like the need for miochondria and cytoskeleton for transportation of synthesized proteins.

    Other grade descriptors might be more generic, thinking of referencing and writing here, but even some of these will be subject specific (e.g. performing practicals, data collection).

    My advice would be to select specific examples and explain them in depth (i.e. the cell example here). I picked the outer hair cell of the inner ear. But also be pedantic. It is very easy to gloss over basic stuff like cell structure and organelles and jump into more complex things like protein synthesis. Make sure you are ticking boxes!
    For my first assignment the grade descriptors are really generic. I don't know if it will be like this for all of them, but it doesn't specifically say what you have to do to get higher grades.

    Like for the assignment the descriptors are "Understanding of the subject" and "Quality".

    Distinction for "Understanding of the subject" is:

    The student, student's work performance:

    demonstrates an excellent grasp of the relevant knowledge base

    and for Quality it's:



    The student, student's work or performance:
    a. is structured in a way that is consistently logical and fluent

    b arguments and ideas are unambiguous and cogent

    c Taken as a whole, demonstrates an excellent response to the demands of the brief/assignment


    Are they always that generic? The assignment itself is asking about structure and function of mitochondria, endosymbiotic theory in relation to mitochondria and how this relates to the difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes and the difference between light and electron microscopy in studying the details of cell structure (with particular reference to mitochondria)
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    (Original post by Pancakes555)
    For my first assignment the grade descriptors are really generic. I don't know if it will be like this for all of them, but it doesn't specifically say what you have to do to get higher grades.

    Like for the assignment the descriptors are "Understanding of the subject" and "Quality".

    Distinction for "Understanding of the subject" is:

    The student, student's work performance:

    demonstrates an excellent grasp of the relevant knowledge base

    and for Quality it's:



    The student, student's work or performance:
    a. is structured in a way that is consistently logical and fluent

    b arguments and ideas are unambiguous and cogent

    c Taken as a whole, demonstrates an excellent response to the demands of the brief/assignment


    Are they always that generic? The assignment itself is asking about structure and function of mitochondria, endosymbiotic theory in relation to mitochondria and how this relates to the difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes and the difference between light and electron microscopy in studying the details of cell structure (with particular reference to mitochondria)
    In my experience the grade descriptors tend to be quite specific which is why they did not give them to us. If they give them to you then they tend to be generic and not really any use in terms of what to include (as you have found here and definitely my experience at university too).

    As for your assignment, I did human biology so I know less about prokaryotes but I think your assignment sounds quite simple in terms of structure:

    - Describe prokaryotes (i.e. give examples, describe cell structure)
    - Describe eukaryotes (i.e. describe cell structure minus mitochondria and emphasis differences between them)
    - Describe endosymbiotic theory and use mitochondria as evidence, and fit in the microscopy stuff here (e.g. using a light microscope X found that...)

    I imagine you will get good marks if you can think of positives and negatives for both cell structures (e.g. asexual reproduction in prokaryotes, having well defined organelles in eukaryotes). This shows that you are not just accepting endosymbiotic theory as fact but considering the implications of what is involved. When people think of evolution they think of organisms becoming better but if this was always the case then why would prokaryotes still exist at all if eukaryotes are 'better'? You do not necessarily get taught this sort of thing. You have to either infer them or research about them; both of which are skills that get high marks!
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    (Original post by evantej)
    In my experience the grade descriptors tend to be quite specific which is why they did not give them to us. If they give them to you then they tend to be generic and not really any use in terms of what to include (as you have found here and definitely my experience at university too).

    As for your assignment, I did human biology so I know less about prokaryotes but I think your assignment sounds quite simple in terms of structure:

    - Describe prokaryotes (i.e. give examples, describe cell structure)
    - Describe eukaryotes (i.e. describe cell structure minus mitochondria and emphasis differences between them)
    - Describe endosymbiotic theory and use mitochondria as evidence, and fit in the microscopy stuff here (e.g. using a light microscope X found that...)

    I imagine you will get good marks if you can think of positives and negatives for both cell structures (e.g. asexual reproduction in prokaryotes, having well defined organelles in eukaryotes). This shows that you are not just accepting endosymbiotic theory as fact but considering the implications of what is involved. When people think of evolution they think of organisms becoming better but if this was always the case then why would prokaryotes still exist at all if eukaryotes are 'better'? You do not necessarily get taught this sort of thing. You have to either infer them or research about them; both of which are skills that get high marks!
    I see, thanks a lot. I'll try to add in stuff from my own research too to show I understand the topic really well.
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    Can you please offer any guidance on how to get distinctions on Access to Humanities and Social Sicences.
 
 
 

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