Access To Higher Education Students (Especially but not exclusively Humanities based)

Badges: 7
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
Hi guys,
New here and writing this to get some advice from students better acquainted with Access to Higher Education courses than I am. My highest qualifications are AS and I started an Access course in Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology, History). I feel a little lost in all honesty and would love it if anyone who is further in on the course or done it before could give me some advice; here are some questions I have.
1) In order to gain a D/M grade for Sociology/Psychology Assignments, is it necessary to have a set minimum of sources in your Bibliography?
2) What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back to the start of the course (e.g essay tips or study tips etc.)
3) What do you feel are essentials for hitting the top grades?
4) Are there any specific skills or tips you have that are uniquely for students doing access (tips that really apply to access students in particular)
5) Any general advice or pointers from anyone who has done Psychology, History or Sociology as Access to HE subjects (Exam Board: Ascentis)

Thank you so much, any replies would be gratefully received by this stressed student! Have a good day!
Badges: 12
Report 2 years ago
Hi, I completed my access to social sciences this year and have just started uni. my access was with swap and exam board sqa.
1) we were mainly graded via exams, I wrote one essay for literature and 1 report for sociology. History and psychology were exams, we were allowed notes in psychology. As for bibliography I can give u advise based on my uni requirements first year: at least 4 sources, avoid text books and go to the source of info, Try and use a variety or academic resources including journal articles and essays. Make sure u know the ref style required and try and do it yourself so you know it and not rely on ref software (u still need to check this as it can be wrong). There is plenty academic web resources (British library etc), don't ref Wikipedia 😊 try looking at the sources of a wiki page to see where they got their info. Google scholar, JSTOR are your friend. There are a few others if you want the list uni gave me pm me.

2) Practice writing essays in exam time: ask your lecturers for previous exam questions or some practice questions, this will help you know what you don't know well and also help you come up with essay plans for different topics that might come up on exams. Just re-reading notes etc is not the most helpful thing for studying and recall. test yourself. I used index cards with questions and then the answer on the back (bullet pointed with what answer should cover) but made myself hand write the answer as though it was part of an essay.
3) Conciseness, don't waffle. proof read and edit. remember every essay is an argument, you need a thesis (the point of your argument) and that each paragraph is there to back up main argument with evidence. Always look at what can be said against your argument and include this and write why it is not a good counter argument . Speak up in class, asks questions, practice your presentations so you know them by heart (it will make you feel more confident when. you stand up to speak Infront of people) a 1/3 of my overall grade was based on oral contribution, not just presentations but how interacted in class.
4) your were right with your first question, referencing is a skill you need. Writing, there are some good palgrave books to help with this. Studying is a skill, I read a lot on how to study and did the Coursera course leaning how to learn, that was very helpful. time management, especially if you have family or are working whilst doing course.
5) I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants the whole year, it wasn't till course finished that I realised how much I had learnt and also when I hit uni how much I still needed to learn. Although I had a confidence I could do it due to my access course. Don't procrastinate, when something is hard or out of our comfort zone we tend to avoid doing it, force yourself to sit down, try the pomodoro technique to get yourself started when u are struggling. plan your essays, know what you want to write, what you want to cover in each paragraph (it will change when u write the essay but it will give you confidence to get started and help keep you on track)

Good luck

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