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How to get a First or Second Class Degree

Updated: Feb 8

Top tips for getting a High 2:1 or First-Class degree at University

1. Time management is key


This is one of the most important points, I wouldn’t have finished university with a good grade without managing my time effectively, particularly when you have multiple deadlines and exams to revise for towards the end of the year.

Set out your deadlines and create a realistic timeline of when you need to begin planning or starting your assignment. Try to not stress yourself out even more by procrastinating and putting off starting because trust me you will feel so much better when you have made a start. Also, by starting early you are giving yourself enough time to iron out any issues or areas where you may need some advice from your tutors, because trust me tutors are less likely to be helpful to you if you go to them a couple days before the due date.

2. Complete your assignments a day earlier than the deadline

This one also sits with time management but it’s a little trick I used to do during my undergraduate degree and still do now during my Doctorate. I make sure my assignment is submitted or complete a day early! Why you might ask, well nobody wants last minute technical issues when it comes to online submission and also it helps you plan your time and tie everything up rather than working until the final few hours and not leaving yourself enough time to double check spelling, grammar, references etc. Also, if you do happen to forget something you have enough time to amend it (as long as you are able to resubmit so do check this before submitting).

Also, what a nice feeling to have on the deadline day to think you are all done whilst others are most likely stressing!

3. Surround yourself with like- minded people

As they say, “your vibe attracts your tribe”, but I think this one is important if you want to be successful at University. Obviously, there is a massive social element to University which is great, and I am not saying you need to become friends with the University librarian but it’s important to mix or work alongside like-minded people as they are more likely to be understanding if you do skip a night out to study and you are more likely to help each other out when it comes to assignments or revision and that moral support can be so powerful.

4. Plan meetings with your Lecturers

Your lecturers are there to help you! Also, they are most likely the ones grading your work so I would advise trying to meet with them at least once per assignment to get direct guidance or advice on how to get the highest grade possible. Sometimes it’s also useful to go through the marking criteria with them to ensure you are hitting all the points to get that top grade! In my third year I also used to meet with my tutors when I received feedback from an assignment to get them to explain where I can improve or what I did well, this really helps when it comes to writing your next assignment as it avoids you making the same mistakes twice!

5. Look after your own Well- Being

Finally, a very important point is to look after yourself- physically and mentally. Stress and anxiety are powerful and if you are exposed to too much it can really impact your life. University is stressful, particularly when you have deadlines and exams approaching however, it’s important to learn to manage the anxiety or stress so it does not consume you. Identify the source of the stress or anxiety and if this is assignment or exam related try breaking your tasks down into manageable chunks rather than attempting to tackle the entire thing in one day, this goes back to my first point where time management is key. Reach out to friends, family and your tutors as they might also be able to help you manage your stress or anxiety. Finally, if you are really struggling mentally, there is professional support available which can be really beneficial to stop your anxiety or stress controlling you and put you back in the driver’s seat!


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