You would typically need to get 70 percent or more total in your tests and examinations to get a first class degree at university.
Though, in some unis, you may also get a first if you achieved a very strong 2:1, and you’ve generated research at uni that ranked higher than 70 percent – consult with your mentor to see if that’s the case in your department and what the specific conditions would be for this to happen.
If you’re serious about getting the best outcome from your uni years, buckle up – you’re on a rough (though rewarding!) journey.
Stay tuned to get a top grade
Not to state the obvious or anything, but if you are looking for a first-class degree, you must be prepared to put the most energy into it.
Those who manage to achieve a first appear to be the students who regularly try their hardest throughout the year – not just nailing the odd top grade, and trying to pull up a couple bare minimum passes.
Regularly earning decent grades requires planning ahead, staying prepared and not dropping the job until the day before. Yeah, and you’ll have to work on making it more successful, too.
And if you’re someone who believes that you work best under strain, don’t be foolish enough to think this means you’ll be having a first.
If you often postpone the coursework to the last minute, question yourself how much that first-class degree actually you deserve.
Build your expertise in analysis
If you say, “I’ve been to all my lessons so seminars, so I’m through all I can,” you might just as well be going now.
Uni contact hours are notoriously low, and while it is obviously important to go to classes, it is the hours you put in outside college so lectures that really count.
Read carefully through your course handbook and you’re likely to find that in your free time, too, you should be putting in a significant amount of work.
Having a first doesn’t involve jamming your way through or trying to pull a fast one on deadline days. Reading outside of the recommended read list is important if you’re serious about this.
This does not of course mean checking the cover-to-cover academic texts. Don’t spend hours learning in one go – that doesn’t work, and you’ll end up losing part of what you’re saying.
Instead, bookmark linked forums, set Google Alerts for topics you’re considering writing an essay on, and basically just try to keep up with relevant discussion.
Education on patterns of academic interest in your profession should become part of your daily routine.
Over time, as you read around and get different perspectives, this will also help you think critically and form your own opinion (not just take the same stance as your tutors – this is not their aim and is impossible to please them … unless, of course, this is truly your position).
Allow use of university library services
While online newspapers are a great resource, the highest awards are usually given to students who can prove that they have made an effort to use a variety of different outlets – like trusty old paper books.
Now, we don’t suggest you set up shop from dawn til dusk in the workplace, spreading half of your bedroom contents across the desk to make you feel more at home while you’re pretending to be employed. We’re not a fan of these men, as you might have predicted.
Instead, make the library your focal point. After a while, you will start enjoying the process of finding and evaluating books that are necessary to your ideas.
Also make sure you take care of every suggestion you use from the book before placing this back on the shelf (i.e. mention any specific page numbers, pages, writers, serial numbers, lot).
Chances are, if you haven’t downloaded these information, you’re going to have to find the book again – and blame yourself for it.
No matter what you do, don’t drop the name of a complaint without an excuse. It is extremely important to know your critics and to make a decision as to whether you support or oppose their views.
Note that an idea will be given to a first class student and then use valid sources to support it, not the other way around.
Improve the way you show your job
It’s not uncommon for people to miss out on a degree in first class simply because they don’t think presentation matters.
Proper pronunciation, punctuation and grammar are important because sadly, if your delivery isn’t up to scratch, several tutors should significantly reduce you – no matter how great the proposals are.
Strong writing skills can help you quickly articulate the thoughts and even make a relatively dull topic sound fascinating (which is an achievement in itself!).
If you are disappointed with the quality, that’s not a big deal. It simply means you need to start your course work a little early to leave enough time for a detailed review later on.
Any software you’ll use to write papers will have spell checkers, and nowadays they’re all pretty advanced in how grammar is defined. Alternatively, give the assignments to a member of your family or friend and ask them (strong!) to check for any obvious errors.
If you’re particularly worried about your writing skills and you think you can do it with some extra support, reach out to your uni for learning support – they exist for a reason! Don’t let this kind of stuff get in the way of nailing that first.
Inquire support from tutors
Book mentor sessions as often as you can, whether it’s about reviewing a forthcoming task, getting feedback or just talking about an idea you have. Tutors are paying to be there for you, and to support you as you fight.
You may also gain several brownie points by discussing an interesting idea related to their information field. It demonstrates you’re genuinely interested and offers them a fresh perspective on a subject they’ve typically sunk in over the past decade.
You may arrange a meeting after a lecture by telephone, and simply by asking. Or, if you had an assignment recently assessed by them in some way, carry it along and inquire how you could better.
Ask them what you found hard, but don’t waste your time asking for detailed feedback on everything you’ve published – that’ll get you into the bad books.
Go to school at the institution
As we discussed in point two, attending lectures and seminars is another (very important) part of the puzzle of first grade.
The least you should do to get the most out of your degree is to meet all of your timetabled commitments. If you need to be more convinced, using our cost-per-hour calculator to calculate how much money you spend per time you decide to sleep through the lecture at 9 am.
Coming to work is also key to winning over your tutors (you know, the people that are going to score your job?).
You would also be much better when grading research from someone you know doesn’t bother showing up to class compared to someone they see working and trying their best every week.
Make time restrictions on social media
Now, we all know how important it is to see if your wife is ‘ manipulating ‘ the divorce or what Donald Trump’s mad / dystopian nonsense is spouting today.
However, as fun as social media can be, there is generally very little achieved with it. However, experiments have even shown that social media contributes only to uni pressures as you become more apt to equate yourself to classmates. Spending hours of your life on social media is also pretty bad for your scores, very surprisingly.
If you have the power of will, set yourself an ambition by avoiding social media until the evenings.
And if you are hurting a little in this area, or your addiction is seriously bad, you might want to consider deactivating your accounts temporarily.
Select things you’re focused on
The whole point of doing a degree should be widening your subject awareness and the worst thing you can do is concentrate on a topic that doesn’t really excite you.
Of course it is highly unlikely that you will be enthralled by every task. Yet try to select the test topics and seek out questions you’re interested in. If you’re not moved by what you’re doing, it’s also a dead guarantee that your reader is going to be.
Take note of anything that pops up in class that you find really fascinating throughout the year – this document will be a full savour when the time for the dissertation proposal arrives.
Having a student research buddy
Regardless matter how great the degree of inspiration is, there will always be days when you need a push up the back.
It is always a good plan to buddy a similarly enthusiastic classmate, as you can inspire each other to go to the library on rainy days. However, if your research partner makes it in daily, you will find yourself feeling much more bad about the missed lessons.
It’s a good idea to make friends with people on your path too. It will not only make hard work substantially more fun, but it’s a great way to develop your thoughts and opinions without frustrating anyone who doesn’t take the same class as them.
Always remember to take breaks from work
If you don’t make space for a little rest in your research journal, you’ll either flame out or get fed up entirely, and start procrastinating even more.
This is particularly relevant for library time, as stated earlier. It’s not efficient to waste days on end in the library until you’re at the level where you use your books as a cushion when snoreing the house down. If you’re at that level, then it’s time for a break.
Balancing your work with a touch of fun and pleasure here and there will allow you both happier and more likely to make good use of your study time.
Stay healthy as you research
Do not neglect the degree to which your wellbeing will influence your uni grades.
Eating the right things for brain power and consuming lots of fluids (excluding beer, sorry) should set you up to do the best you can at uni. In other terms, horrific hangovers and meal takeaways should be stopped as much as possible (but not completely-every now and then we all enjoy a treat!).
Always make sure you stay active and fit. You may not want to believe it, but daily workouts will give you a big boost of strength – we have a massive list of ways to save on exercise expenses, as well as ways to stay active without spending any money at all.
Of course, there is no way to guarantee a first-class degree so please don’t take this path to achievement as your passport. But if you obey those guidelines, you are going to be on the right track.