First Year at Uni Part 8: Top tips for securing a 2:1 or higher


1. Your lecturers are your best friends 

Your lecturers are the ones who are extremely well rounded on the subject that you are studying. It is crucial that you build a strong relationship with your lecturer. This doesn’t mean adding them on Facebook or meeting up with them for a drink. You can simply organise a one to one session with your lecturer. Or something that me and my university buddies did, was organise a group session. Before you attend the session, carry along with a written or a typed-up plan! List down any issues or questions you have about your essay/ dissertation. e.g. Tips on how you can improve your grade. And be sure to ask lots of questions, no question is stupid! Take into consideration that your lecturer has a million to one essays to mark and other students see. Come prepared, or you would’ve wasted not only your time, but your lecturers time. My university buddies, Lizzie and Emily both obtaining a 2:1 and higher; found that attending sessions with their lecturers really improved their grades. Attending these one to one and group sessions, steered us in the right direction in writing their essays. & my I needed a lot of steering!  


2. Turn up to your lectures! 

This next tip is pure common sense. But unfortunately, common sense isn’t very common these days. In my final year at university, there were students in my lecturers that I had never seen before. You know why? Because, they had never turned up to any of the lectures throughout the year! Think about it, you are paying thousands of pounds to be educated on a topic, that you want to have a career in. So why aren’t you attending these lectures? Attending your lectures, will not only educate on the subject you are studying, but provide you with the information you need for your essays! How are you going to know about when an essay is due, when you’re not at the lecture?



Please, do not leave your essays and dissertations a week or a few days before the deadline; you will find yourself panicking and struggling a lot, something I learnt the hard way in my first year at university. Even if you do complete that essay by leaving it till the last minute, don’t be surprised with your grade. I was recently reminiscing about deadlines with my former university friend Emily. She made a good point, “even if you work well under stress, and don’t understand a topic. It doesn’t matter how good your writing skills are, your content won’t be good, you need to take the time to learn it.” Something that benefitted me was organising a schedule to organise my university work with my other obligations in my life. It can be as simple as writing down when each essay is due.


4. Grammar and Spelling 

If you want to gain a 2:1 or higher, you need to have strong grammar and spelling skills. Grammar and spelling is something I struggled with, but have no fear you can always get help with this. Universities have tutors, who can help you with your grammar and spelling. Also with the magic of technology, we have the luxury of spell check! A tip that I found so helpful was simply proofreading my work, by reading it out load, which brings me onto my next top tip…..








5. Proofreading 

You haven’t completed your essay until you have proofread it. And going back to proofread your essay/ dissertations is what stands between you getting that 2:1 or higher. I would recommend reading your work outload two times. You will be surprised at how many errors you will come across.


6. Research and Referencing 

As tedious as referencing and research is, it is a necessity. Your opinion is important, but it isn’t fact. That is where academic sources come in, to back up your opinions. Research and referencing shows that you are well informed on the subject and have provided a strong case of facts to support your thesis. It is also very important to know how to structure references in your essay. Your lecturer should provide you with a guide on how to do this. Without any academic sources, your essay is just a piece of opinions.


7. Write about what you know 

My lecturer told me to pick topics, that are relevant to my course and that you are passionate about. Not only will it be easier, but it will make the writing process enjoyable; especially if it’s a 10,000-word dissertation. Don’t pick topics that looks impressive, impressive won’t get you that 2:1 or higher. Being impressive will only result you in hating the essay/ dissertation you write about and you will find yourself struggling.

So, those are my seven top tips in getting a 2:1 or higher. But here’s one last tip. Without putting in that hard work, whether it be university or any goal, you will not achieve it.


Written By Vanessa Rodrigues 



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