Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter

    Any advice on how to get a first?
    Preferably in Law
    But any advice from other students would be helpful!

    You have to understand how to answer problem questions. Read this: http://volokh.com/posts/1168382003.shtml

    Once you understand what markers are looking for, study accordingly. You have to know the key cases: the issue, facts (for analogising/distinguishing), principles/rules and decision. Apply these cases to the hypothetical fact scenario. The better you can identify the issues and sub-issues in the hypothetical fact scenario and can analogise/distinguish the cases, the higher your mark will be.

    For essay questions, just answer the question and argue in such a way as to support your argument. State your stance outright in the introduction together with your 3 main points (arguments) and then flesh out your argument in your body paragraphs. Then conclude by summarising your arguments and reiterating your stance.

    (Original post by sels22)
    Any advice on how to get a first?
    Preferably in Law
    But any advice from other students would be helpful!
    This answer has been posted before:

    1. Always know what is being asked of you – This is the number one point on the list because it is the most important. It is very easy when you get an assignment to jump straight in and think about the completion of the task. As your thought process and creativity start to flow you have already worked out the best possible structure, what research you’re going to do and how it’s going to feel when you get that awesome grade. However, what you haven’t noticed is that you haven’t paid enough attention to the question and you have mentally researched and answered a different question to what has been asked.

    The key is to ask yourself the following when you look at your assignment or exam question:
    • What have I learned on this subject so far?
    • What will I need to demonstrate I have understood from the course content I have received?
    • What details will I need to research to show I have expanded my knowledge?
    • How can I demonstrate I have used course content, research and practical assignments as a basis for the conclusions in this piece of work?
    • What can I add to this work that will show I have gone above and beyond the expected standard?.

    Master this method and your assignments and questions will always be high quality, relevant and worthy of that first class degree.

    2. Make friends and collaborate – It’s going to be a difficult and lonely road if you don’t make friends on your course. Aside from companionship, a collaborative group will improve the quality of your work. Why ? I hear you ask. The reason is that you could be the smartest person in the world but chances are someone else is going to think of an idea that you wouldn’t have. If you are in a good group you will realise that you are not competing against each other but you are trying to reach an academic standard, and as long as you can agree on what is being asked of you (see above) and not plagiarise each others work, you should develop a collective foundation that each individual can build upon with their own work.

    A final note on this subject, if you want to increase your odds of gaining a first class degree, make sure you surround yourself with good, committed and hard working people.

    3. Always give 100 % - Some people take the view that they will coast through the first couple of years and then really turn it on in the final year when it matters most. This is not the path to success. If you want a first class degree you SHOULD TREAT EVERY ASSIGNMENT LIKE IT WILL BE THE ONLY ONE YOU EVER GET GRADED ON. By putting 100% into every assignment or exam you are not only increasing your average grade score you are also developing the key habits that you will need in the later stages of your degree. These habits will be the vital ingredients that your fellow students will lack when it comes to the crucial final year and it will show in their results. So start early in year 1 and always give 100% to everything you do.

    4. Limit the leisure – University can be fun and exciting but if you are serious about getting a first class degree you will need to limit your leisure time so it doesn’t encroach on your studies. If you are continuously missing lectures because you are hung over or not working on assignments so you can hang out with your friends then things are probably not going to turn out well for you. Remember no-one with a first class degree ever wished they had partied more, but most people with 2:2s wished they had studied more.

    5. Have a good enough ‘Why’ and make it personal ? – When you have four deadlines looming, you’re tired, overwhelmed and your employed friends have all the money and time in the world you will ask yourself - “Why am I doing this”. The standard reason is “to get a good job” but this isn’t very compelling especially if it is 3 years away. Another common reason is “because my sibling went” or “my parents wanted me to go”. Again, these are not good reasons because they will not give you the personal drive required in difficult times. It would be wrong for me to advise what YOUR personal reasons should be but I base mine around challenging myself everyday to become a better person and develop habits that would serve me well in the future. For me gaining a first class degree isn’t about bragging, job prospects, a piece of paper or a funny hat it was about being proud of the person I am to become in pursuit of my goal.

    6. Hardwork vs Difficulty - A first class degree is difficult to achieve, not impossible but difficult. This is a good thing. If they were easy to achieve everyone would have one and their value would go down. Therefore, imagine that the first class degree is on the top shelf and your hardwork is the ladder. I am not a genius, but I am willing to do whatever it took to overcome the challenges the degree threw at me and that was the key to success. So embrace the difficulty, counter it with hardwork and always keep in mind that ‘you can’t fly without gravity’.

    7. Beware of group work – I mentioned earlier the importance of a being in a good group but sometimes the group members are selected randomly and this may not work in your favour. Like with any group situation there will be a mixture of temperaments, agendas and ability. Your job is to make sure your work is the very best it can be to compensate for others that aren’t as conscientious. Also if you volunteer to be the person that consolidates everyone’s work into the final project it also gives you the opportunity to amend or add to the weaker members work to improve the grade. I know this isn’t fair on you but you may want to take the hit to ensure a good grade.

    8. Check you are on the right course with your lecturers – At University you are expected to work many things out on your own. You will be given an assignment, allowed a few questions after the lecture and then sent on your way. As a rule lecturers want to offer as little guidance as possible even if it means some students produce poor quality work. After all the pay is the same whether you succeed or fail.
    As the master of your own destiny it is your responsibility to book time with your lecturers and make sure you have interpreted the question correctly and are on track with your research. This extra effort is viewed favourably by lecturers and will be rewarded. They may not give you the answers but they may give you some pointers that will save you some time and allow you to maximise your results.

    9. Focus on what you don't know - Some areas of study will be easier and more interesting than others and you will have a tendency to focus on these and know them inside out. However, I can guarantee you that what you have procrastinated on and failed to learn WILL be in your exam. It is in that moment that you will learn two very valuable life lessons :

    1. Ignorance is NOT bliss
    2. What you don’t know WILL harm you.

    Remember the more difficult the concept the greater ‘points’ you will score for being able to understand it. If you want a first class degree you will have to demonstrate that you understand the simple and the complex. In summary, if you have holes in your knowledge, get them covered.

    10. Time management – There is no right time management. However, find the right balance. You have to work hard, but you also have to find time to play/relax.

    11. Meet deadlines - Deadlines are extremely important in many parts of life but they are crucial if you want to achieve a first class degree. At my University the penalty for late work is a 10% reduction in your grade so everyone avoided it like the plague. Call in favours, burn the midnight oil whatever it takes but make sure you get it in on time – every time.


University open days

  1. University of Cambridge
    Christ's College Undergraduate
    Wed, 26 Sep '18
  2. Norwich University of the Arts
    Undergraduate Open Days Undergraduate
    Fri, 28 Sep '18
  3. Edge Hill University
    Faculty of Health and Social Care Undergraduate
    Sat, 29 Sep '18
Which accompaniment is best?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.