philosophyofblue
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Hi everyone! I'm in my final year of university, studying philosophy and English lit. I consistently get solid firsts in philosophy, but I get low to mid-2:1s in English. No matter how much time and effort I invest in an English lit essay, I just can't seem to get a first. I recently received the mark for my first English lit essay of the year. I worked my butt off; I spent hours and hours reading secondary criticism, formulating an argument, emailing my lecturer for advice, writing the essay, and editing/proofreading. I was completely confident, yet I got a 65.

For context, I got A*A* in English language and literature at GCSE, an A in English lang & lit at A Level, and close to 100% in every English lit assignment I submitted during my year abroad in the USA last year. I'm also an avid reader.

I apply the feedback I received in the past in every subsequent essay, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. There's always a new criticism and my grade is always roughly the same as the last one.

I'm at my wits' end. What can I do?
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the bear
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(Original post by philosophyofblue)
Hi everyone! I'm in my final year of university, studying philosophy and English lit. I consistently get solid firsts in philosophy, but I get low to mid-2:1s in English. No matter how much time and effort I invest in an English lit essay, I just can't seem to get a first. I recently received the mark for my first English lit essay of the year. I worked my butt off; I spent hours and hours reading secondary criticism, formulating an argument, emailing my lecturer for advice, writing the essay, and editing/proofreading. I was completely confident, yet I got a 65.

For context, I got A*A* in English language and literature at GCSE, an A in English lang & lit at A Level, and close to 100% on every English lit assignment I submitted during my year abroad in the USA. I'm also an avid reader (as I've been all my life).

I apply the feedback I received in the past in every subsequent essay, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. There's always a new criticism and my grade is always roughly the same as the last one.

I'm at my wits' end. What can I do?
read up on your lecturer's ideas & praxis. use them in your essays... implying how wonderful they are... ygm ?
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hallamstudents
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(Original post by philosophyofblue)
Hi everyone! I'm in my final year of university, studying philosophy and English lit. I consistently get solid firsts in philosophy, but I get low to mid-2:1s in English. No matter how much time and effort I invest in an English lit essay, I just can't seem to get a first. I recently received the mark for my first English lit essay of the year. I worked my butt off; I spent hours and hours reading secondary criticism, formulating an argument, emailing my lecturer for advice, writing the essay, and editing/proofreading. I was completely confident, yet I got a 65.

For context, I got A*A* in English language and literature at GCSE, an A in English lang & lit at A Level, and close to 100% in every English lit assignment I submitted during my year abroad in the USA last year. I'm also an avid reader.

I apply the feedback I received in the past in every subsequent essay, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. There's always a new criticism and my grade is always roughly the same as the last one.

I'm at my wits' end. What can I do?
Hi philosophyofblue,

Does your university allow access to studiosity?

It basically helps improve academic writing. You send off your work to studiosity and they respond within 24hours with their advice on how to improve your writing. They can't give tips on the actual subject of the essay but they can improve the way it's written, suggest pointers for being more critical/evaluative etc.

Here's a link to the website: https://www.studiosity.com/

Hopefully this could give you a few extra marks to bump you up a grade.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

Lucy
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ihatespongebob
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(Original post by philosophyofblue)
Hi everyone! I'm in my final year of university, studying philosophy and English lit. I consistently get solid firsts in philosophy, but I get low to mid-2:1s in English. No matter how much time and effort I invest in an English lit essay, I just can't seem to get a first. I recently received the mark for my first English lit essay of the year. I worked my butt off; I spent hours and hours reading secondary criticism, formulating an argument, emailing my lecturer for advice, writing the essay, and editing/proofreading. I was completely confident, yet I got a 65.

For context, I got A*A* in English language and literature at GCSE, an A in English lang & lit at A Level, and close to 100% in every English lit assignment I submitted during my year abroad in the USA last year. I'm also an avid reader.

I apply the feedback I received in the past in every subsequent essay, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. There's always a new criticism and my grade is always roughly the same as the last one.

I'm at my wits' end. What can I do?
GCSE and A-Level English is completely different to degree level. At degree level, your lecturers want to see you forming your own arguments. They want to see your own critical response to the texts you are reading.

It would help if you could post the feedback your lecturers have given you but I'll give you some general tips on how I got a first for my English Lit assignments.

1. Stop feature spotting. If you find that you are pointing out all the literary devices being used in a text, you need to stop doing that. Lecturers know that's a metaphor so why do they need you to tell them that? Unless, you link these devices to the argument you are putting forward, you are wasting words by simply describing them with no relevance.

2. Don't mention other interpretations. When I did my A-Level in English Literature, I was taught to always make markers aware that alternative interpretations exist. E.g. 'A Marxist reading argues...' Doing this at university level is pointless because lecturers are wanting to see your own critical response to the text. Plus, generic phrases like 'a Marxist reading' is very vague because there are so many different interpretations and views that exist within Marxism.

3. Don't let secondary reading overshadow your own voice. When citing sources, they should be used to back up your own argument. They shouldn't become your argument. So, use secondary sources as simply backup evidence.
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