More difficult to get a First class in Arts subjects? Watch

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tiasax
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#1
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#1
Is this true, and does it really make a difference?

What about language subjects? Would you say that to get a First in French was less subjective than getting a First in English Literature?

Want to know your opinions.

Thanks
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fais
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I've never seen the point in comparing the two.. it shouldn't matter to those going into the Sciences whether or not it's easier to get a First in the Arts since they wouldn't have the capacity to do so and have no reason to begrudge those who do well in the Arts . [unless of course you're equally talented in both]

Regardless, these are some widely held views: the Arts usually have less contact time than Sciences and generally less workload on average. The Arts are however more subjective and it very rare that you will get the top marks in your essays (where it is more than possible to do so in the Sciences).

I'm sure there will be those that disagree (and no doubt you'll soon see them not too far below this post. )

fais
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Jsuper
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I've read many people say it's easier to get a 1st in a maths/science subject but easier to get a 2:1 in an arts subject - how much truth there is in that I don't know
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Ollie87
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most of my maths friends (about 5 or 6 of them) are averaging 1sts. of my arts friends (about 15 of them) not one is averaging a 1st. make of that what you will.
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louisedotcom
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Hmm maybe people say that because to a point its subjective with an arts degree. Where as with maths and sciences there is generally one clear answer.
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swallows
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The statistics seem to show that a higher percentage of science students get firsts than arts students, while fewer arts students get 2.2's than science students. So while it may be 'easier' for a science student to get a first, it's also easier for an arts student to get a 2.1...if that makes sense. I imagine this is in part due to the fact that it's very rare to get above 80 in an arts subject (or even above 75), so it only takes one 'good' as opposed to outstanding mark in a module to drag the whole thing down to a 2.1.

Basically, it seems much harder to fail an arts subject, but it's also much harder to excel (isn't the percentage of firsts in maths ridiculously high? At something like 35%?).

I'm not saying one is easier than the other mind...
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FadeToBlackout
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Well, I'm doing History. 90% of people get 2.1s, but only 4 or 5% get Firsts- compared to, say, Natural Sciences where 20% or so get a First, 30% or so a 2.1, 30% or so a 2.2...

Basically, you have to try to get anything less than a 2.1 in History, but to get a First, you have to say something original or creative.
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*soph*
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The Arts mark scheme last year did annoy me... I can understand that an essay/piece of coursework is subjective rather than one clear answer but we had a French grammar test where there is one right answer. If you got full marks on that test, it'd still get scaled down to a mark of 80%!
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john171
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(Original post by Ollie87)
most of my maths friends (about 5 or 6 of them) are averaging 1sts. of my arts friends (about 15 of them) not one is averaging a 1st. make of that what you will.
Could it be that are you arts friends are lazy sods? :p:
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BovineBeast
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Well, I know that because here (SOAS) it's literally impossible to get higher than 80%, and very unusual to get more than 75% (I've only ever met two people who had an essay that get more than 75) one low-ish 2:1 and my first average'll be screwed, because all my essays are in the mid-to-low 70s. I need to get 69 for my exam if I want to get a first.
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Iscariot
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Like others have said, NatSci and Maths get more 1sts because your answer is either right or wrong - that can be said for sciences in general.

Also I'd say this much, not that many people scroll through the UCAS list thinking about what they'd like to study and randomly decide upon maths. While I'm not saying people pick history "because they aren't sure what they really want to do", I think history probably has more of an appeal to a wider market of students than maths or physics.

More people who maybe aren't that keen on history end up studying it, where as physics/maths is more something people either have liked for a very long time or then generally do not like it at all. I can't say I know many people who are "indifferent" to studying physics, but I know plenty who have a mild interest in studying history.
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Clarence
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(Original post by FadeToBlackout)
Well, I'm doing History. 90% of people get 2.1s, but only 4 or 5% get Firsts- compared to, say, Natural Sciences where 20% or so get a First, 30% or so a 2.1, 30% or so a 2.2...

Basically, you have to try to get anything less than a 2.1 in History, but to get a First, you have to say something original or creative.
But you're at Cambridge.
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BovineBeast
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(Original post by Clarence)
But you're at Cambridge.
Cambridge has a significantly higher proportion of firsts than most universities.
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john171
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Hahaha an angry arts student neg repped me! :rofl:
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FadeToBlackout
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(Original post by Clarence)
But you're at Cambridge.
And? There's still a distribution of people. It's not as if there's more really clever people doing sciences than there are Arts, which would explain the split, nor are there more less intelligent people doing sciences which would explain why arts have a higher percentage of 2.1s.

Basically, it's the way it's marked.
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Wise One
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(Original post by Iscariot)
Also I'd say this much, not that many people scroll through the UCAS list thinking about what they'd like to study and randomly decide upon maths. While I'm not saying people pick history "because they aren't sure what they really want to do", I think history probably has more of an appeal to a wider market of students than maths or physics.

More people who maybe aren't that keen on history end up studying it, where as physics/maths is more something people either have liked for a very long time or then generally do not like it at all. I can't say I know many people who are "indifferent" to studying physics, but I know plenty who have a mild interest in studying history.
That's a good point. You've got to really like Maths to put yourself through another three years of it.
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la fille danse
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It depends. I'll use English as an example, since it's my subject.

If you're naturally talented at English, then you can easily get a First with only a moderate amount of effort. If you're not naturally talented, then it would be very very difficult to get a first. If you have a natural flair for analysing literature, you're pretty much guaranteed a 2.1 (provided you actually read the books you're writing about).

Some other subjects are largely based on memorisation and regurgitation. In those subjects, your results are directly proportional to the amount of time/effort you put in.
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the_alba
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^^ Which is why I got so pissed off when my doctor asked me what I was studying, I said 'English', and he rolled his eyes and said 'Easy subject'. It makes you think a lot harder than memorising the names of infections and antibiotics would.

When it comes to higher maths and science though, I dispute that it's all about memory and regurgitation. I have enormous respect for people who can think on those abstract levels of maths and sciences - something I could never do.
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Scuttle
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(Original post by the_alba)
^^ Which is why I got so pissed off when my doctor asked me what I was studying, I said 'English', and he rolled his eyes and said 'Easy subject'. It makes you think a lot harder than memorising the names of infections and antibiotics would.

When it comes to higher maths and science though, I dispute that it's all about memory and regurgitation. I have enormous respect for people who can think on those abstract levels of maths and sciences - something I could never do.
This is where, in my opinion, genius is to be found.

Don't be fooled into thinking that all science and engineering is just regurgitating facts, you often have to solve a problem before you can begin to apply any formulas which you have learnt.
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the_alba
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(Original post by Scuttle)
This is where, in my opinion, genius is to be found.
There is plenty of 'genius' to be found in the arts too. Perhaps this is what science and the arts have in common, and where humanities falls down somewhat. There are musical, mathematical, literary and scientific geniuses, but not so many genius historians or critics. Of course, there ARE some, but they are practising at a secondary level - Walter Pater and William Empson were quite probably critical geniuses, but only in applying themselves to primary works of literary or artisitic 'genius'.
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