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12 tips on getting a first class degree

So, you’ve got to university and you’re in the mood for a first class degree? Well, you’re in the right place.
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Whether it’s your mum, the grandparents or the llama next door with a PhD, the chances are someone has tried to tell you how you should easily be winging your way to a first.

However, before you get too excited at how little you need to do to bag a winner, it’s worth thinking long and hard about the truth behind their rants.

There may be more graduates achieving firsts than in the ’80s, but the number of students attending university has also rocketed.

So despite what the oldies tell you, if you’re serious about nabbing the best a uni can give, buckle up, you’re in a for a tough – but rewarding – ride.

Here are our top tips on snagging the best grades.

Top tips for getting a first

    1. You need to really want it

      verucasaltbratTo put it bluntly, if you want to get a first class degree you have to be prepared to put in maximum effort – this isn’t for the faint hearted.

      While we know you wouldn’t turn down the offer of a first, the depressing reality is you can’t just pick one up at the local pound store (not the last time we checked anyway).

      The people who end up achieving are the people who have a passionate desire – minus the sloppy music and cinema style kisses – to do the best they can.

      This means planning, organisation and not leaving your assignment until the day before, even if you “do work best under pressure”. Yeah, we all know that one’s rubbish really.

      If you’re really struggling to get a grip on planning then check out our six steps to organisational heaven or see your university study service.

      Think about the reasons you want to get a first, write them down and stick them on your wall. Whenever you feel like crumbling they’ll stare at you like an angry parent. No one wants that on a hungover Sunday morning.

    2. Research, research, research

      intenseresearchWhile not quite as famous as the three Rs (relocation, relocation, relocation, obvs) research is a key part of doing well at university.

      If you have the attitude of ‘I’ve been to my lectures and seminars, I’m done’, then you may as well quit now.

      You have to make an effort and you do that by digging out books, searching for journals and articles and searching the famed world wide web.

      shrew-clip-art-1-look_it_up_TTo get a first class degree you have to read around your topic (outside of the reading list) and interpret the ideas for yourself – always be critical as while your lecturer may not agree it shows you are driven by the subject.

      The majority of students who achieve firsts will spend hours and hours researching and pooling together critical opinions with their own thoughts.

      Don’t fret about spending ‘hours’ researching, though. Chop up your time and slot an hours reading in here and there.

      It’s hard to specify how far in advance you should do your research, as long as you don’t find yourself there on Monday night poring through ten different books on astrology when your deadline is Wednesday you’ll be fine.

    3. Make the library your best friend

      bestfriendsUse the library – and not just as a place to sit in despair the day before your assignment is in.

      Once you’ve dragged all your books back to your dwelling place, read, read and re-read if you don’t understand something.

      Don’t just rely on the internet as a source of all wisdom; the best students will use a range of different sources from ancient textbooks to online journals.

      First-class assignments use critical sources wisely. Whatever you do, don’t drop a critic’s name without a reason. You’ll get sussed.

      Understanding the critics and making a decision whether you support or oppose their views is extremely important.

      In the case of a written essay, a first class degree student will suggest one of their own ideas and then use critical sources to support them, not the other way round.

Categories: EDUCATION, Uncategorized

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