How to Turn a 2.1 Essay into a 1st

70 percent photo

A 2.1 is a very respectable mark. It shows that you have presented a high quality piece of work which demonstrates your understanding of the key issues and your engagement with the subject. A 2.1 will show that you know how to present and write a good piece of academic work, plus prove that you have paid careful attention to the key sources in your subject area.

But what if you have greater aspirations? The line between a high 2.1 and a low 1st is incredibly thin. This means that there are a few steps you can take which could be all that is required to make your 2.1 essay first class. If you can attain a 65% 2.1 with your essay, there are a number of things you can do to make sure it crosses the 70% line and becomes a 1st class piece of work.

Just to refresh your memory, here’s how University marking criteria works:

  • 80+ – High 1st
  • 70-79 – 1st
  • 60-69% – 2.1
  • 50-59% – 2.2
  • 40-49% – 3rd

Now here’s how to jump from the high 60s to  the low 70s and attain your first. The useful tips below come straight from the essay writing service “Oxbrigde Essays”. For more tips, tricks and support follow Oxbridge Essays on Google plus to get the latest helpful how tos.

1. Know your sources
Understanding the most important sources in your subject area is essential. If you want to turn your 2.1 essay into a 1st, you need to know a lot about the theoretical landscape of your essay. That means you should give the most important writers on the subject precedence in your essay, while also exploring other, lesser known writers who may have contributed unusual ideas or less popular theories to your field of study.
A good way to do this is to take a good look at the references and bibliographies attached to the best existing essays and books in your subject area. Exploring your university library, along with online resources like JSTOR will also help you extend your range of sources and learn which authors really matter.


2. Be original
Although your essay should contain all of the most important sources (and a few extra interesting ones) , your work should never just be a collection of the best sources and their most illuminating quotes. Your essay needs to show original thought if you want to get a 1st. Use your sources to back up or inspire your argument, don’t let them take over. Every time you use a quote or reference ask yourself “how does this back up my argument?” or “how does this extend the discussion?”. If it doesn’t, don’t include it.

3. Plan your argument
A key difference between 2.1 essays and 1st class essays is the quality of the argument. While the argument in a 2.1 essay will be clear and logical, in a 1st class essay it should be even better. You need to demonstrate a sophisticated argument.

To do this it’s vital that you plan your essay thoroughly before you begin writing. Decide on your viewpoint, then think through every persuasive argument you could use to make your standpoint convincing. Make sure you also think about arguments which could disprove your points, then make sure you address these in your essay too. Prove that you’ve thought everything through, step-by-step, to leave the marker convinced of your ideas and you’ll have earned a 1st.

4. Talk to your tutor
One of the best ways to raise your mark is to talk to your tutor. They can cast an expert eye on your essay, recommend extra sources, point out weak arguments and tell you where you’re going right. With this expert advice you can hone your work and make sure you get a 1st.

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