How To Turn Your Essay From A 2:2 To A 2:1
What Is Your Goal
For many, the chances of qualifying with a First Class Honours Degree are very slim. For most, a 2:1, is a much more realistic goal, and often the real problem faced by students is how to elevate their marks from a 2:2 to a 2:1. With a little help and advice, however, this problem can easily be overcome.
Essay skills generally improve as a student progresses through their course, and invariably their best work will be produced in the final few assignments. This sounds fine until it is realised that, at this late stage, transforming a 2:2 to a 2:1 overall score has now become an unobtainable goal.
The range of marks needed for a 2:2 is between fifty to fifty nine per cent, and a 2:1 between sixty to sixty nine. Tutors have an infuriating habit of awarding essays a mark of 59% - only one mark below the elusive 2:1. Such an essay is obviously of a good standard but is missing the magic ingredient/s required to lift it into the 2:1 category.
So What Exactly Is It That Turns A 2:2 Essay To A 2:1?
It may seem an obvious statement, but to turn a 2:2 to a 2:1 requires detailed knowledge of the subject you are writing about. Rather than relying on course materials and handouts, you elevate the standard of research to 2:1 level by introducing secondary sources. This indicates evidence that you have gone beyond the ideas presented in your course notes. So, for example, if you are working on an analysis of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, to turn a 2:2 into a 2:1, you should include some background information on 'popular culture in modern Europe' in order to enrich and add perspective to your work.
Using appropriate evidence such as this will present many more chances for you to shine. Tutors are constantly looking for initiative of this kind in students' work and will add valuable marks for such effort.
To turn a 2:2 into a higher end 2:1, use information gleaned by both essential and secondary sources to go further than the ideas originally discussed in lecture time.
Imply 'Wider Reading'
Nothing will impress your tutor more than if you show that you have sought out analysis and argument which goes far beyond what is actually required for you essay. To turn your essay from a 2:2 to a 2:1 you can refer to other authors and material within the text of your essay without actually directly quoting their work, but don't forget to reference these citations in the way you would normally acknowledge a source. This impresses on your marker that you have within your arsenal a vast ocean of knowledge which is far too wide to include in your paper and that you are 'regrettably restricted' by the word count.
Readability And Structure
A key factor in turning a 2:2 essay into a 2:1 is the ability to structure your work in a way which is clear and readable. Markers wade through reams of essays and, with the best will in the world, a poorly written and disjointed piece will disguise what may be a good piece of work.
A 2:2 essay will ramble through to the end with some moments of genuine merit spoilt by a disorganisation which lacks coherence. To turn a 2:2 of this type into a 2:1, the writer must take the reader along a journey. This is done at the outset by using an introduction which describes the order in which the points will be addressed. Often a 2:2 will provide a promising opening, only to be later undermined with information which bears no relation to the introduction. To turn a 2:2 to a 2:1, the main body of the text must 'without question' follow the sequence set out at the beginning.
Paragraphs, Spelling And Punctuation
Assignment Assessment Sheets refer to specific criterion to help the marker arrive at a final score for your essay. Factors such as 'spelling', 'punctuation' and 'paragraph formation' usually comes under the section categorised as 'presentation'. What separates a 2:2 from a 2:1, is often defined by the way a paper will demonstrate a confidence in the student's ability to correctly use paragraphs, spell and punctuate.
Don't rely on your Word Processor's spell check feature to iron out all errors. Words such as there, their and they're will all show correct spelling but may contain the wrong meaning or context.
If you are on a Humanities course of study, you will be expected to effectively punctuate your work to the standard expected from an undergraduate. You will already be an established user of full-stops, commas and question marks. Turning a 2:2 to a 2:1, however, means you must use a wider range of punctuation to develop your work.
Correct use of semi-colons will impress your tutor and may encourage that 'extra' mark; use them properly.
A piece of writing which naturally flows will, without exception, include paragraphs that are carefully composed. Standard of work at 2:2 level will contain paragraphs that start and end with no logical pattern or reason. To turn a 2:2 to a 2:1, use the chronological sequence as outlined in your introduction to form a basis for paragraph construction and add more paragraphs as you introduce sub themes. Using this practical approach will help until the use of paragraphs becomes a more 'instinctive' feature of your writing.
Proofread And Proofread
To turn a 2:2 to a 2:1, eliminate minor errors and repetitions by checking and rechecking your essay. Once written, leave the work for a minimum of one day and check again. Then print out a copy and check once more.
Don't forget to proofread your quotations and bibliography, precious marks may be lost due to avoidable mistakes.
Finally, good luck in raising the level of your essay from a 2:2 to a 2:1