Earning a first-class degree at university can make you more employable and prove that you can consistently work to a high standard.
To get a first-class degree at university, you’ll usually need an average of around 70 percent or above overall. This average is calculated across coursework, presentations, projects, and exams, so you’ll need to achieve consistently good grades throughout the university.
This may sound not easy, but it may be simpler than you think you get a first-class degree.
Here are nine easy things you can do to boost your chances of securing that top degree classification.
Go to all (or most of) your lectures and seminars
While some lectures are more interesting than others, making an effort to go to them will likely pay off in the long term. Attending your lectures and seminars – even the boring ones – will cut down on your study time and help you understand the course material differently. The lecturer may also give extra hints and tips about improving your assignment or presentation, or even what to revise for an exam.
Lectures offer you a sound basis for course material. This means that when you go to study, you can revise efficiently rather than trying to learn it all from scratch. Seminars can help clarify aspects of the course material that you don’t understand.
Talk to your tutors
Making an effort to get to know your tutors can be the difference between getting a first-class degree and not.
There are several ways to arrange to talk to your tutors. Most university lecturers have office hours which they will inform you of at the start of the year. During these hours, you can stop by their office and ask for help or clarification if you’re struggling with anything. Alternatively, you can drop them an email or speak to them after class.
Know what they’re looking for
Knowing what your lecturer is looking for from your assignments is one of the most important aspects of producing good work at university. Knowing what your work should look like means that you can approach your assignment with a clear aim of what you’re trying to achieve.
To do this, read the marking criteria to find out how your work will be assessed. If there are any aspects of the marking standards that you don’t understand (it can often be quite vague), talk to your lecturers to clarify.
Being organized means understanding the assessment structure for each of your modules, whether they contain exams, coursework, or group work, knowing when all these are due, and being aware of the weighting of each piece of work. This will make sure you don’t miss a deadline.
Keeping each of your assignments in specific folders will mean you can easily find them in the future and help keep track of feedback to quickly refer back to it later.
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When writing an essay, try to use sources beyond the reading list or references from a different field but are still relevant to the question you’re trying to answer. The best workpieces at university contain sources from a wide range of places, including online journals, archives, and books.
Too many students take what someone else has written and use that as their main argument in an essay. If you want to get a first-class degree, you’ll need to expand on these arguments and develop your comments and ideas.
Do the required reading
At the start of each module, you’ll be given a list of required readings. Although it can sometimes feel like a drag, doing the required task is essential if you’re looking to get a first-class degree. Some universities won’t let you attend the seminar if you haven’t done the required reading beforehand.
Explore the whole reading list, not just ones you need to answer an assignment. Most of these books can be found either online, through online archives, or in the library.
Study and work hard throughout the year, instead of just for your exams
This goes hand in hand with attending your lectures but making sure you understand the course material throughout the year – and asking when you don’t – will make revising for exams a lot quicker and more straightforward.
Go through feedback
Although, on first glance, feedback can be a bit disheartening if it isn’t very positive, it will usually give you a great deal of guidance in how to improve your learning and help you understand how to change your work for the better.
If you’re unsure about any of your feedback on an assignment, make sure to go over it with your tutor as soon as possible.
Get enough sleep
There have been plenty of behavioural studies that suggest that the quality and quantity of sleep each night significantly impact learning and memory.
Getting better quality sleep has been proven to help you absorb information better and record that information later on.
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