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How to get a first on a University essay

How do you get a first on a University essay? The truth is – there are no quick ways. There is a direct relationship between the amount of time you put in, and the output. In reality, however, that is too simple a way to put it for it to be effective as a piece of advice. This short article does not contain a list of bullet points, but relates more to a the kind of mental approach that one undertakes when producing a piece of coursework.

I work as a student mentor, and something I always notice is that the most valuable skill for essay writing that you can develop is the awareness that there is …

1. … always something that can get better.

2. … always something more worth fixing.

What this leads to is that you never feel entirely satisfied with your essay. Even when you force yourself to stop (or if a deadline forces you), you still think that there is probably room for improvement. It is about being a perfectionist – something that will make it an exhausting task to complete the essay, but also something that will provide strong results.

Of course, it isn’t that easy to realize what it is that can be improved when it comes to the content of the essay, but one thing that could always be dealt with is the easy fixes. Do you recognize the following scenarios?

1. I’m not really sure if this is the way I should cite my sources. But how much can it actually matter? I’ll just leave it as is.

2. Oh no, I forgot to make it double spacing. But how much can it actually matter? I’ll just leave it as is.

3. I’m sort of not really weighing the different areas discussed. I’m kind of leaning towards 70%-30% rather than the ideal 50%-50%. But how much can it actually matter? I’ll just leave it as is.

The act of developing critical thinking starts with constantly being critical about the work you produce. Do you see something that could be fixed – then do by all means fix it! It might seem like something that takes a lot of time, but even though it’s a minor issue it adds to the overall impression of the essay. One point can always be the difference between an upper second and a first!

Another way to develop a critical thinking is to change your approach to writing your essay. If you have a 2000-word essay to write – don’t just say you’ll write 500 words a day and then you’re done. That’s not the way it will work. It will have to evolve over a couple of weeks, and as a rule of thumb, there should hardly be any paragraphs in it that you haven’t gone over and made changes to.

The secret behind getting a first on a University essay is to be critical about everything you write in it.

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