How to get a first class degree - My top university tips.

I’ve held off writing any university-related posts the past few months because despite my studies were over, I didn’t want to give any advice until I knew what I was graduating with. But now that i am aware that I’m graduating, and doing so with a first class degree, I feel it is time to share what I’ve learned over the past few years. So here you have it, my tips on how to get a degree without pulling your hair out (too much!).

Read the marking guidelines, and work backwards.
Most lecturers provide the marking guidelines for assignments, and they can usually be found on the universities online learning system – READ THEM! They quite simply tell you how you will lose points, and what they are looking for to give you marks. I have found them particularly useful when I’ve left work to the last minute because I know what aspects of the assignment to pay the closest attention to obtain the best marks. 

Speak to your lecturers, they’re there for a reason
Coming into university at the third year, I sadly had no relationship with my lecturers which most other people had developed throughout the first and second year. Because of this, I shied away from approaching them and didn’t even email a lecturer until I got into my fourth year – big mistake. I found that the modules I did best in, were the ones where I emailed lecturers for clarification, extensions and extra information when I felt I needed it. I felt like such a pest at first, but then I realised they are PAID to respond, so make the most of them!

Reference and do it right, because it’s a right pain if you don’t.
I learned the hard way that referencing is extremely important at university. Sadly it wasn’t something which was taught at my college before I made the transition so my throughout my first few modules of university I got some appalling grades due to inaccuracies in my references. But even after that, I hadn’t figured it out – halfway through my dissertation, I found out that not only did I have to reference the author, year, etc. but also the page number! Que Abbey having a breakdown in the library flicking back through 50+ books to find page numbers…Take it from me, write down all the details for everything you look at…please.

Choose your subjects based on what you want to do, not what looks fun.
This is probably a controversial piece of advice but… Hear me out. In my degree, especially, the range of subjects available to study was wide, and some were much more beneficial in terms of skills learned than others. I saw people take subjects on their favourite tv dramas when in fact they wanted to work in public relations, and it baffled me because it didn't help them grow as a media professional in any way. I found the most beneficial modules I ever took were the ones which sounded the dullest - Law and regulation, Entrepreneurship and Journalism.  

Proof, proof and proof again. 
Lecturers say this all the time, but if you're anything like me and left your essays till 3 am the night before, you'll probably slack on the proofreading front. Well, don't, because I learned the hard way that it can actually cost you.  There are loads of different ways you can go about proofreading, you can do it yourself if you're good like that, you can ask a mate, or you can use software like Spellcheck or Grammarly. I found Grammarly super useful throughout my final year as it tends to pick up on errors which are structurally based not just standard spelling. It's definitely worth giving a shot - and it's free!

Turn up, please.
Finally, turn up. I wasn't great at attending university, I'll be honest. BUT I noticed that at the end of my time there, that when I finally pulled my socks up and started attending that my grades sky rocketed. I went from scraping by with 56-60's to hitting 80%+. So turn up and make the most out of it while you're there!

And that's it. Abbey's guide to university! 
Let me know what your top tips are, and if there's any here you agree (or disagree) with! 


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