How to turn a 2:2 into a 2:1
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How to turn that 2:2 into a 2:1

Tamzin Meyer November 29, 2021

Have you ever got a paper back and been confused over what you needed to do to improve? It is okay to admit that it’s sometimes difficult to know exactly what’s expected of you when examiners mark your assignments. Handouts of mark schemes in seminars can seem really wordy and can be completely overwhelming. It can be even more frustrating if you find you only need 1% more to get from a 2:2 to a 2:1.

What does this all mean? Here are some general ways you can work to improve your grade. Remember, every mark counts and can make a really big difference.

Plan Your Work

Not everybody likes to plan work, I know! It doesn’t need to be an elaborate plan. But a clear overview of how you aim to approach your assignment will be really beneficial. Nothing is set in stone and can be adapted as you wish. Yet starting out with a clear set of points, list of sources and theorists you are going to include will help keep you focused on the task. It also ensures you are remaining relevant to the question and help you get into a determined mindset. The difference between a 2:2 and a 2:1 essay, for example, may come down to how the work is structured.

A 2:1 essay will most likely have been planned in advance to ensure that each paragraph flows into the next and remains on topic. Whereas a 2:2 essay may have been written without any sign of a plan. A plan really doesn’t have to take a long time to write. It can be a list of bullet points if that’s all you have time for. But this simple task can make a world of difference to your grade.

Read More Than The Required Reading

While the required reading for a module is obviously useful (it’s required for a reason) who said the reading had to stop there? I know it may be easy to skip past the further readings that your seminar tutor has suggested. I mean, who has the time to read those every week? But when it comes to doing your assignment these readings will be really useful. This research will help develop your knowledge and will be the difference between somebody who understands the topic in depth and somebody who just gets to the surface level of it.

Read more than enough. That way you can filter out the irrelevant pieces to ensure the readings you will be referencing are of high quality. You will be on your way to becoming an expert in your field in no time!

Check For Errors

This is perhaps one of the most annoying parts about assignments – editing out all of the parts that don’t quite make grammatical sense. If you are anything like me, you may like to get everything submitted as soon as it is written. But that means you may miss certain mistakes that could make your work seem less professional and hinder your chances.

Even if you did write your essay at 2am, we don’t want our tutors to know that! In the morning, or a few days after you have written your assignment, read over your work again. You may pick up on things that all of a sudden have become obvious now that you are viewing it with fresh eyes. Becoming your own editor is a great way to ensure that silly mistakes are cut out.

Look at Past Papers

Past papers are really useful as they give you an idea of how to structure your work and form arguments. These papers have already been graded so you know exactly what needs to be done to get a similar grade. Unless your module is new, your tutors should have access to past papers from previous years. This helps you prepare and understand exactly what a 2:1 looks like in comparison to a 2:2.

Hand In Assignments On Time

This goes without saying for many people but, of course, there may be the odd occasion when time is not on your side. I know, I love working to the last-minute too! However, it’s vital to hand in your assignments before the deadline. Every day that goes by after this can lead to a deduction of valuable and otherwise earned marks. This is even more severe if you have handed in a take-home exam late.

It’s always best to give yourself plenty of time to do your work, just in case something ends up going wrong. We’re all prone to technical difficulties after all. This way you can ensure that every mark you receive would have been well and truly earned and you may just thank yourself when you get that 2:1 you’ve hoped for.

See also: The different routes into teaching

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I am an English and History student at The University of Birmingham with a strong passion for writing about entertainment and lifestyle.