Ethereal World's advice is good. As far as essays go you do have to show some originality to get the highest marks. That means having your own references and developing a decent argument, not just regurgitating the stuff that the lecturers mentioned. If it's a specific topic it can be worth looking at the lecturers own research to see where they stand on it (although don't just cite all their papers!) and who you should be reading. You also have to write well. I have a pretty nice formal writing style and I think it helped me an awful lot to get to the top marks, you have to write something which is interesting to read, concise and never difficult to read/ambiguous.
Also: be smart about how you work, I didn't tend to do a lot of the reading as I then found my own sources for essays/exams. Don't spend lots of time doing things which aren't working for you. Get good marks from day one, even if first year doesn't count, so you know where you're at.
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- 20-03-2016 19:26